Vietnam has shown its leadership qualities by vowing to further intensify trade and investment cooperation between ASEAN and the EU.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the third ASEAN-EU Business Summit late last week in Hanoi that “Vietnam, as a coordinator of the economic cooperation between ASEAN and EU, wholly supports the boosting of investment and trade cooperation between the two regions, so that such cooperation can be further enhanced effectively.”
“Together with its progress in building the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, ASEAN has been especially deepening its relationship with partners, of which the EU is a very important one. The two regions’ investment and trade cooperation has increasingly been expanded,” Dung said.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade reported trade between ASEAN and the EU increased 12.6 per cent and totaled $234.8 billion in 2011when in particular, the EU’s investment into ASEAN increased 7.2 per cent, hitting $18.2 billion. In 2012, the EU was ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and biggest source of foreign direct investment. Meanwhile, ASEAN remains the EU’s third largest trade partner.
Dung said the establishment of the AEC would help attract more EU foreign direct investment. It “will create more investment inflows and enable more convenient commercial exchanges for enterprises to perform better in ASEAN’s market of 600 million people.”
European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht said foreign investors preferred a united market like ASEAN, thanks to the AEC, which would display shared favourable investment and trade incentives, rather than into individual nations with different policies.
As for Vietnam, Dung stressed it pledged to further step up intra-ASEAN cooperation and ties between ASEAN and its partners. “Vietnam has always been an active and responsible member in constructing a sturdy ASEAN bloc. ASEAN has and will continue being an important pillar in Vietnam’s international integration policy.”
“In 2013, Vietnam together with other ASEAN member states and the bloc’s partners will build an ASEAN community with solidarity and prosperity with the theme ‘People, we stand side-by-side for our future’,” he said.
He said Vietnam would continue offering ASEAN and EU enterprises favourable business incentives.
The EU is Vietnam’s second largest trading partner and top exporting market. In 2012, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the EU reached $29.1 billion. Particularly, exports to the EU totaled $20.3 billion and imports from the EU reached $8.8 billion.
The EU is also Vietnam’s biggest foreign investor, with 1,781 projects by late October 2012, and with total registered capital of $33.4 billion.
Meanwhile, ASEAN imports 15.1 per cent of Vietnam’s exports and is the country’s third largest export market. In this year’s first two months, Vietnam raked in $2.7 billion from exporting goods to ASEAN, up 23 per cent on-year. Last year’s figure was $17.3 billion, up 27.8 per cent on-year.
ASEAN is also Vietnam’s second largest import market, with $2.9 billion worth of goods imported during this year’s first two months, down 6.3 per cent on-year. The country last year spent $21 billion importing goods from ASEAN and this figure increased 0.3 per cent and occupied 18.3 per cent of the country’s total import turnover.