Singapore-Vietnam Connectivity Framework Agreement

Singapore and Vietnam enjoy excellent bilateral relations, underpinned by the Strategic Partnership Agreement concluded in September 2013 during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong`s official visit to Vietnam. Our economic relations are strong and bilateral trade has grown steadily over the past decade. Our strong economic cooperation is symbolized by the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs). Binh Duong`s first VSIP will celebrate its 23rd anniversary in 2019. The Connectivity Framework Agreement (CFO), in force since 23 January 2006, provides the general framework for bilateral economic cooperation in six sectors (education, training, finance, investment, information technology and telecommunications, trade and services and transport). The Joint Committee discussed the challenges in Vietnam and the EU, as well as regional and international developments. They underlined their respective commitment in the areas of connectivity, environment and climate protection. Vietnam`s trade figures will rise with its participation in the 11-member Agreement on The Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This is especially true for Canada, Mexico and Peru, countries with which Vietnam currently has no free trade agreements. Another significant trade agreement is the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, which could increase Vietnamese exports to the European Union by a third3. Closer to home, Vietnam continues to follow regional agreements on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), as Southeast Asia strengthens economic ties.

The Joint Committee examined the state of play and next steps in the implementation of the various agreements underpinning EU-Vietnam relations, in particular the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the Framework Participation Agreement, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The Joint Committee also examined the measures needed in Vietnam to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The EU encouraged Vietnam to continue its efforts to implement the European Commission`s recommendations on IUU fishing. Vietnam hoped that the yellow card warning would soon be lifted. The EU reaffirmed its readiness to continue its cooperation with Vietnam in this area in the framework of the formal bilateral IUU dialogue. In addition to the MOUs, the State Bank of Vietnam has agreed to grant the United Overseas Bank (UOB) permission in principle to establish a foreign-owned subsidiary in Vietnam. Trade connectivity and increased investment in the transport and infrastructure sector were also discussed. With a series of Free Trade Agreements (SAAs), Vietnam is still in the process of negotiating and ratifying other agreements. This is linked to the government`s long-term plans for international economic integration and liberalization.