While the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA) will most likely enter into force in early 2020, amfori has continued its engagement in the country over the 4th Quarter of 2019.
Our activities have been underlined through a successful programme of events over the course of October. The programme culminated with the 2nd amfori Asia Sustainability Forum in Ho Chi Minh City and now comes accompanied with the publication on the Vietnam Focus.
Since the inception of trade talks with Vietnam, amfori has been a strong voice for sustainability and open trade between both parties. The European Commission has described the EUVFTA as the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with an emerging market and is projected to add an estimated 15% to the national GDP of Vietnam when the agreement enters into force. The agreement will also be a trailblazer for sustainability, with dedicated clauses that provide for the protection of workers’ rights and the environment. . In this sense, the country made progress this past November with the adoption of a revised labour code, which for the first time allows workers to set up a representative organisation or join one of their own choosing.
With the new business opportunities offered by the trade agreement, amfori’s Vietnam Focus, provides an insight for into Vietnamese market from an economic, social and political perspective.
Furthermore, the 2nd amfori Asia Sustainability Forum brought together a wide variety of stakeholders from the Asia region to further open a dialogue on worker and environmental standards in the region. Over the course of this two-day forum, representatives from governments around the region, international organisations and business leaders in sustainability came together in a variety of panels and break-out sessions.
High-level stakeholders from international organisations were well represented at the forum. The consensus following the forum from these actors was that to achieve sustainability in protecting workers rights, coordination and partnerships are extremely important. Currently, combined engagement between the public sector, international organisations and the private sector, all together, are key.
An additional highlight of the forum was a round table jointly organised by amfori with the UN International Organisation for Migration. Through bringing together 21 stakeholders form the Asian diplomatic community and international buyers, participants explored the vulnerabilities of migrant workers in international supply chains on how to implement more responsible recruitment practices. Consensus reached by stakeholders was that progress in transparency, recruitment fees and effective remedy is necessary to take steps forward in more protecting migrant workers.
amfori will continue its engagement with all actors in Vietnam to ensure the benefits of sustainable trade and economic integration continue across the country: for its people, planet and mutual prosperity.