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A New Vietnam-EU Cooperation Agreement
31 | 10 | 2007
What is outdated and no longer suitable must be replaced" - that is almost an indispensable rule that policy makers can follow when they want to create suitable changes in the cooperation between some country and another one. Vietnam and the EU are no exception. The agreements that have been signed in the past to promote cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, in the opinion of analysts, have become unsuitable and need to be changed.

The Vietnam Economic News' Tran Linh discussed this matter with Dinh Van Hoi, the deputy director general of the European Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Now is a special time as just recently a workshop was held in Hanoi at which EU and Vietnamese high-ranking officials talked about the current relationship between Vietnam and the EU and a possible new cooperation agreement (PCA) between the two sides.

Is a new PCA a certainty? If so, when might it be completed and signed?

This workshop is to prepare for the forthcoming negotiations with the EU. The EU has thus far not proposed any new content for a new PCA. The matters discussed at this workshop we have reported to our top government and state officials. A Vietnamese negotiation delegation will be formed. New agreements take time.

Is a new PCA to supersede all prior agreements made between Vietnam and the EU?

We are waiting to hear what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to say. As proposed by the EU, the new PCA will cover a wide range of fields. We believe that it is necessary to replace the cooperation agreement that was signed between Vietnam and the EU in 1995, which has become unsuitable to the new situation, especially now that Vietnam is a World Trade Organization (WTO) member.

I've heard that negotiations with the EU should stress those advantages of Vietnam that would likely lead the EU to benefit from cooperation with Vietnam. If you are a member of the negotiation team, what will you emphasize?

Vietnam has big advantages but Vietnam must make use of these advantages based on actual conditions. Vietnam is a new WTO member and it's being given time to adapt itself to this new situation. In any case, we have to ensure the interests of domestic businesses. Any adverse impact on businesses will also affect the whole country.

I would emphasize the very good relationship that exists between Vietnam and the EU. The Communist Party and the Government of Vietnam is interested in no other trading partner as much as the EU. General Secretary Nong Duc Manh visited the European Commission (EC) in 2004 and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the EC in 2006. Two such high level visits in four years highlight the good relationship that exists and will lead to mutual trust during the negotiation process.

When are negotiations to begin?

Perhaps our ministries will get word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November, or maybe December. The negotiation process cannot begin before that. Generally, preparations for a new PCA to be signed  between Vietnam and the EU is just at  the initial stage.  

Source: VEN
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