Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in October 1990 between Vietnam and the EU, ties have developed rapidly, moving from an initial focus on trade and aid to a broader, more diversified and more political partnership.
This is why both sides decided in November 2007 (during a visit by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Hanoi) to launch negotiations for a new Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA). The PCA was initialed in October 2010 and is officially signed today in Brussels by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Cathy Ashton and Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. This new PCA will still need to be ratified by EU Member States and the European Parliament before it enters formally into force.
On the signature of the new PCA with Vietnam, HR/VP Catherine Ashton declared: “The EU has strong stakes in the success of Vietnam’s reforms. It is committed to forging an upgraded, broader and more diversified relationship with Vietnam, a partner willing to take on increasing responsibilities on the world scene, a central actor of ASEAN, and a particularly dynamic economy. I look forward to signing a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which will help to take relations to a new level. I hope this Agreement will soon be complemented by an ambitious EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement“.
The new PCA demonstrates the commitment of the EU to build a modern, broad-based and mutually-beneficial partnership with Vietnam. It will broaden further the scope of EU-Vietnam cooperation in areas such as trade, the environment, energy, science and technology, good governance, as well as tourism, culture, migration, counter terrorism and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
Beyond the PCA, the EU is looking forward to bring to new levels its trade and investment relations with Vietnam. On 26 June, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Vietnamese Minister for Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang officially launched negotiations for a FTA.
The signature of the PCA and the launch of the FTA both demonstrate the ever- growing political and economical ties between the EU and Vietnam.