Vietnam to sign free trade pact with EU by end-June: PM

By Nguyen Hoai   June 25, 2019 | 04:16 pm GMT+7
Vietnam to sign free trade pact with EU by end-June: PM
The EVFTA will allow Vietnamese companies to compete for government contracts within the EU (and vice-versa), and open up local manufacturing sectors. Photo by Shutterstock/Thi.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will be signed in Hanoi on June 30, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Tuesday.

He said at a conference that preparations were in the final stages and both parties were all set to sign the agreement. The PM noted that Vietnam had participated in many free trade agreements and the economy has benefited greatly from these.

With the EVFTA, Vietnam will have the opportunity to gain further access to the market of 28 European Union member countries, he said. "This is a great opportunity for Vietnam to have better conditions, allowing it to integrate deeper into regional and global markets." 

In the middle of last year, Vietnam and the EU agreed to split the original text of the EVFTA into two parts, an FTA which includes the main provisions, and a separate Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Under the EVFTA, nearly all tariff barriers will be removed. The agreements will eliminate over 99 percent of customs duties on exports in both directions when they come into effect or after a short period.

It will also reduce various non-tariff barriers, allow Vietnamese companies to compete for government contracts within the EU (and vice-versa), and open up local manufacturing sectors such as food, tyres, and construction materials.

The EVIPA includes modern rules on investment protection enforceable through the new Investment Court System and ensures that the right of the governments on both sides to regulate in the interest of their citizens is preserved. It will replace the bilateral investment agreements that 21 EU members states currently have in place with Vietnam putting in place new legal guarantees preventing conflict of interest and increasing transparency.

The investment protection agreement will help protect and enhance EU investments in Vietnam, making it a proactive trade and investment hub for EU firms in the region, said Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

The EU Council of Ministers on June 25 approved the EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements, paving the way for their signature and conclusion, an EC press release stated.

"The agreements are set to bring unprecedented benefits for European and Vietnamese companies, consumers and workers, while promoting respect for labour rights, environmental protection and the fight against climate change under the Paris Agreement," it said.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that after Singapore, the agreements with Vietnam are the second to have been concluded between the EU and a Southeast Asian country, and represent stepping stones to a greater engagement between Europe and the region. "It is also a political statement by two partners and friends standing together for open, fair and rules-based trade."

Last year Vietnam exported goods worth $41.88 billion to the EU, up 9.42 percent from 2017, while its imports were worth $13.89 billion, up 13.95 percent.

 
 
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