EU, Vietnam reach agreement on free trade

Th e EU and Vietnam have reached an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement (FTA), after two and a half years of intense negotiations.

“And Vietnam’s exporters will now get much easier access to the EU for their products, giving an important boost to the Vietnamese economy. Both sides have worked extremely hard in the past few months to achieve this breakthrough,” she said.

On the basis of this agreement, the negotiating teams will now continue the process, settle some remaining technical issues and fi nalise the legal text. Once fi nalised, the agreement will then need to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament.

“Our deal will also make sure that trade does not happen at the cost of the environment or of people’s rights. Th e EU and Vietnam have committed to ensure the respect of workers’ rights and to support a sustainable management of natural resources,” Malmström added.

This agreement is the first of its kind that the EU has concluded with a developing country. As such, the ambitious and symmetrical liberalisation agreed upon – with a transition period to allow Vietnam to adapt – breaks new ground compared to other EU agreements with developing countries.

Besides eliminating tariff s, Vietnam will also remove almost all of its export duties. Th e agreement will also create new market access opportunities in services and investment. Vietnam has agreed to liberalise trade in fi nancial services, telecommunications, transport, and postal and courier services. On investment, Vietnam 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.