PCA marks breakthrough for Vietnam – EU relations
Friday, June 29, 2012
(VOVworld) - Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton have signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) during Minh’s visit to the EU. The agreement is expected to create a new legal framework and expand Vietnam-EU cooperation in the future. VOV editor Anh Huyen has more.
|Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton (Source: internet)
Vietnam singing the PCA with the EU marks an important breakthrough in the bilateral relationship. The agreement is proof of the comprehensive and development relations between Vietnam and the EU over the past 20 years. It is also a significant landmark, bringing bilateral ties to a new height, connecting with the EU at a level appropriate to the 21st century and Vietnam’s growing power after 25 years of successful innovation. Speaking to the press after signing ceremony, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said this agreement harmonizes the benefits and priorities of both signatories: "The PCA will open up opportunities for cooperation between Viet Nam and the EU in areas such as science and technology, education and training. The EU will also promote its cooperation with Vietnam in addressing global issues such as climate change, anti-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and fighting terrorism and organized crimes".
Regarding prospects for Vietnam –EU ties following the agreement signing, Mr. Minh said the two sides have reason to be optimistic. Vietnam, with its geographical advantages for economic and political development, will create favorable conditions for the EU to promote cooperation and its role in Southeast Asia. Conditions will continue to be more favorable as Vietnam has seen success through its ASEAN 2010 presidency and will take the position of ASEAN General Secretary in 2013. In addition, over the past years, Vietnam and the EU have enjoyed many opportunities for trade and investment cooperation with two-way trade turnover reaching 24 billion USD last year, an increase of 36 percent compared to the previous year. EU’s trade with Vietnam now only accounts for more than 0.5 percent of its international trade value, so signing PCA and the launching of negotiations on a free trade agreement between Viet Nam and the EU will further help tap economic, trade and investment potentials between the two countries. Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam, Ambassador Franz Jessen said: "It’s very good to see that in terms of Vietnam-EU relations, the crisis does not hurt our relationship. This year so far, we’ve seen strong growth in trade between Vietnam and EU and from EU to Vietnam. FTA is not only in the interest of Vietnam but also of the EU. We’re good partners and we should be more ambitious in our relationship".
Following the PCA signing and launching of FTA negotiations, the two sides will be implementing activities including promoting cooperation on regional and international forums, asking the EU recognize Vietnam’s market economy status and strengthening cooperation in other fields such as education, environment, energy, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. The two sides also agreed to increase communication and exchanges of high-level delegations including an official visit to Vietnam by
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy scheduled later this year.
Implementation of content agreed upon in the PCA are likely to face challenges in the context of a complicated public debt crisis in the eurozone. However, with the determination of the two sides’ leaders, the PCA will be an important premise to make Vietnam – EU relations deeper and more practical in the future.