EU-VN Free Trade Agreement officially inked

Friday, 04 December 2015
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström signed the Declaration on conclusion of the negotiations of a European Union (EU)-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) under the witnesses of President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and PM Nguyen Tan Dung.

The two sides affirmed that it is a historical moment and a crucial hallmark to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and the EU.

In October 2010, PM Dung and the President of the European Commission approved the negotiations of the EVFTA after completing technical works.

After three years with 14 official negotiation rounds, the EVFTA negotiations were officially concluded, which helps Viet Nam and the EU achieve a great step in the roadmap to strengthen the comprehensive political partnership relations, especially in terms of trade and investment.

The pact covers the trade in goods (texts on general provisions and commitment to opening the market), rules of origin, customs and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade (TBT), trade in services (texts on general provisions and commitment to opening the market), investment, trade safeguard, competition, state-owned enterprises, governmental procurement, intellectual property (including geographical indications (GIs)), sustainable development, cooperation, capacity building, and legal issues.
 


PM Nguyen Tan Dung (R) and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (Photo: Nhat Bac/VGP)

The Agreement is expected to enhance trade, investment, economic growth and create more jobs in Viet Nam and the EU.

This agreement, the first of its kind that the EU has concluded with a developing country, will remove 99% of tariff lines on goods traded between the two sides.

Besides eliminating tariffs, all of its export duties will also be removed in Viet Nam. The agreement will create new market access opportunities in services and investment.

Viet Nam has agreed to liberalize trade in financial services, telecommunications, transport, and postal and courier services.

Regarding investment, Viet Nam will open its market to the EU, for instance by removing or easing limitations on the manufacturing of food products and beverages, as well as in the non-food sectors.

The EVFTA also includes a robust and comprehensive chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development, covering labor and environment matters of relevance in trade relations between the two sides.

The conservation and sustainable management of natural resources (including wildlife, forestry and fisheries) as well as Corporate Social Responsibility and fair ethical trading schemes are also clarified in the chapter.

The FTA will include mechanisms to ensure the involvement of independent economic, social and environmental stakeholders both in the EU and in Viet Nam.

Especially, the agreement dedicates a chapter on assisting Viet Nam in reaping the full benefits. Areas of particular importance include labor and environment matters, trade facilitation and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The EU was the second largest trade partner of Viet Nam with two-way trade turnover of US$36.8 billion in 2014. In the first half of 2015, the figure attained US$19.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 11%.

As many as 23 nations out of the 28 in the EU poured US$38.4 billion in 2,100 valid projects in Viet Nam, focusing on industry, construction and services.


Van Hai (Source: VGP)
 

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