Initial talks on Customs Union-Vietnam free trade zone successful
MINSK, 29 March (BelTA) – The first stage of negotiations on the agreement on a free trade zone between the Customs Union and Vietnam has been very successful. The statement was made by Mr Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, in Hanoi, the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission told BelTA.
As part of the visit to Vietnam Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Khristenko and EEC Minister for Trade Mr Andrei Slepnev met with Vietnam Prime Minister Mr Nguyen Tan Dung and Industry and Trade Minister Mr Vu Huy Hoang on 28 March. The meetings were timed to the start of the talks on the agreement on a free trade zone between the Customs Union and Vietnam.
According to Viktor Khristenko, the first stage of the talks was very successful. “There is an understanding about the structure of the document. It will include not only trade in merchandise and services but will cover investments and other aspects of economic cooperation that shape the infrastructure of strategic relations,” the press service quoted the EEC Board Chairman as saying. In his words, the agreement relies on the best international practices, including WTO rules, and takes into account the extensive experience of cooperation accumulated by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia in their mutual relations with Vietnam.
“The liberalization of trade and economic relations will create new opportunities for the sustainable development of our economies. It is estimated that we will be able to raise the trade of the Customs Union with Vietnam up to $7 billion by 2015 and up to $12 billion by 2020,” said the official. He believes that the agreement should create incentives for the development of the priority projects that already make up the foundation for stable cooperation between the Customs Union and Vietnam such as mechanical engineering, power engineering, and other industries.
Viktor Khristenko stated that the agreement should clearly define mechanisms to ascertain the country of origin of commodities. “For the agreement to advance our economies, including from the point of view of creating new projects with a high added value instead of being an instrument to propagate ‘wrapper’ assembly practices,” he stressed.
The agreement on the free trade zone with Vietnam is the first document of the kind that the Eurasian Economic Commission is working on. “The commission is interested in making this first agreement perfect. I am convinced that the work will not be simple but fruitful because absolutely not accidental parties are in negotiations,” remarked Viktor Khristenko.
After the meetings the heads of the negotiating delegations EEC Minister for Trade Viktor Khristenko and Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Mr Vu Huy Hoang signed a joint statement on the start of the talks on the free trade zone agreement.
The day before a delegation of representatives of the Customs Union member states’ governments and representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission led by Andrei Slepnev started the first phase of the negotiations on the free trade zone agreement. Apart from the initial talks the sides plan to carry out three more rounds of negotiations in 2013, the next one is supposed to take place in Moscow. If necessary, working groups will gather to additionally discuss individual matters.