Swedish EU Trade Commissioner signs Vietnam FTA

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Signing ceremony for the conclusion of the negotiations of a EU/Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), by Vũ Huy Hoàng, seated, on the left, and Cecilia Malmström, seated, on the right, in the presence of Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, standing, on the left, and Jean-Claude Juncker

The EU and Vietnam landmark trade deal is landed. On 2 December 2015, the parties announced the conclusion of the negotiations for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The EU considers the FTAs with individual ASEAN countries as stepping-stones towards an agreement in the regional framework, which remains the ultimate goal.

As well as unlocking a market with huge potential for EU firms, the agreement will support Vietnam’s transition towards a more competitive, smarter and greener economy. It will also help trigger a new wave of high quality investment in both directions, supported by an updated investment dispute resolution system.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “Today’s completion of the negotiations is good news for both the EU and Vietnam. Vietnam is a vibrant economy of more than 90 million consumers with a growing middle class and a young and dynamic workforce. Its market has great potential and offers numerous opportunities for the EU’s agricultural, industrial and services exports. This FTA is also significant because of its strong focus on sustainable development. It will support Vietnam’s efforts to further enhance economic growth and development for its people in the years to come. This agreement provides a new model for trade policy with developing countries”.

“The EU and Vietnam have also committed to ensure the respect of workers’ rights and to support a sustainable management of natural resources,” the Commissioner added.

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Vietnam has experienced a radical economic and social transformation over the past two decades alongside integration into the global economy. As a rapidly developing and fast growing ASEAN economy, Vietnam holds substantial potential for EU businesses.

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Vietnam – signed in June 2012 – offers a solid foundation to intensify relations between the two parties.

The FTA will further strengthen relations between our two economies and societies. It builds on the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), currently undergoing ratification. After the EU-Singapore trade deal concluded in 2014, it provides further evidence of the EU’s commitment to Southeast Asia and is an important building block towards an eventual region-to-region FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Vietnam has also agreed to accept the EU’s new approach on investment protection – in particular a permanent investment dispute resolution system with an appeal mechanism.

Following today’s conclusion of negotiations the way ahead is now clear to begin the legal review and translation into the EU’s official languages and Vietnamese. The Commission will then present a proposal to the Council of Ministers for approval of the agreement and ratification by the European Parliament.

Vietnam enjoys trade preferences with the EU under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

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