On 4th August, the EU and Vietnam reached an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement (FTA), after two and a half years of intense negotiations. Following a telephone conversation between EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, all issues of substance have been agreed, and both sides have reached a mutually beneficial and balanced package.
This agreement will remove nearly all tariffs on goods traded between the two economies.
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. It shows the shared conviction of the EU and Vietnam that trade is essential to growth, the creation of jobs and sustainable development.
Besides eliminating tariffs, Vietnam will also remove almost all of its export duties. The agreement will also create new market access opportunities in services and investment. Vietnam has agreed to liberalise trade in financial 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.
The agreement will also improve the protection in Vietnam of Geographical Indications (GIs) representing EU flagship agricultural products, such as Champagne, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Rioja wine, Roquefort cheese and Scotch Whisky. Vietnamese GIs too will be recognised as such in the EU, providing the adequate framework for further promoting imports of quality products such as Mộc Châu tea or Buôn Ma Thuột coffee.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015/ EC/ European Union.