The trade agreement will eliminate over 99% of customs duties on goods traded between the two sides. Vietnam will remove 65% of import duties on EU exports from entry into force of the agreement, with the remainder of duties being gradually eliminated over a 10-year period, to take into account that Vietnam is a developing country. The agreement also contains specific provisions to address non-tariff barriers in the automotive sector, and will provide protection for 169 traditional European food and drink products in Vietnam, the so-called Geographical Indications, like Rioja wine or Roquefort cheese. Through the agreement, EU companies will be able to participate on an equal footing with domestic companies in bids for procurement tenders with Vietnamese authorities and state-owned enterprises.
Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement also ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection, ensuring that there is no 'race to the bottom' to attract trade and investment.
The trade agreement includes an institutional and legal link to the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, allowing appropriate action in the case of breaches of human rights.
Vietnam is the EU's second largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after Singapore, with trade in goods worth €47.6 billion a year and €3.6 billion as it comes to services. While EU investment stock in Vietnam remains modest standing at €8.3 billion in 2016, an increasing number of European companies are establishing there to set up a hub to serve the Mekong region. Main EU imports from Vietnam include telecommunications equipment, clothing and food products. The EU mainly exports to Vietnam goods such as machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and agricultural products.
The Commission is now submitting to the Council the proposals for signature and conclusion of both agreements. Once authorised by the Council, the agreements will be signed and presented to the European Parliament for consent. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the trade agreement can then be concluded by the Council and enter into force. The investment protection agreement with Vietnam will be ratified by Member States according to their respective internal procedures.
Wednesday October 17, 2018/ EC/ European Union.