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EVFTA provides Ben Tre with great chances to reach EU markets

With its strength in tourism and farm produce export, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre boast great potential to enjoy benefits from the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), said Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

At a conference on September 27 to discuss economic partnership between Ben Tre and Europe, Son said that Ben Tre is one of the localities with high development index, adding that Ben Tre ranked first in the provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) and fourth in competitiveness index in 2018.

This is a foundation for the province to promote international economic integration in the future, he said.

Regarding the Vietnam-EU partnership, Son said that the EU is the fourth biggest trade partner and second largest export market of Vietnam. Two-way trade rose about 15-20 percent per year, while EU members’ investment in Vietnam reached 25 billion USD with more than 2,200 projects.

The signing of the EVFTA and EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) is expected to open up great chances for the two sides to promote partnership, he stressed.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Ben Tre Party Committee Phan Van Mai said that the province holds advantages in processing and exporting products from coconuts, fruits and seafood. Therefore, with the EVFTA, local products will have chances to access the promising EU market.

Mai affirmed that Ben Tre considers foreign-invested firms as an important economic sector and always works to protect the rights and interests of foreign investors.

The province prioritises environmental-friendly projects with high technology and added value and connection with the global production and supply chains, he said.

The official also expressed his hope that EU member countries would create favourable conditions for Ben Tre products to reach their markets. Ben Tre welcomes EU businesses to seek partnership opportunities in the province, he stated.

Jean Jacques Bouflet, Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), said that Vietnam should make more efforts to implement laws of the EU to ensure its products meet requirements in the market.

Vietnam and Ben Tre in particular should improve the legal environment to attract more European investors, while simplifying administrative procedures, he suggested.

EuroCham and its members are willing to share technical and business experiences with Ben Tre to help the province’s products satisfy requirements in the EU markets.

On the occasion, Ben Tre also introduced to participating firms its five promising sectors – seafood, coconut processing, fruit, tourism and industry.