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Vietnam | Brussels, 17 January 2014

EU and Vietnam hold sixth round of FTA talks

The EU and Vietnam today completed the sixth round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The talks were held in Brussels from 13-17 January.

Negotiators made good headway on all chapters of the proposed FTA. Three areas – customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, and competition (anti-trust & mergers) – saw particular progress with the teams being able to conclude their technical work and reach agreement.

Negotiators also had intense discussions on market access for goods, services and investment, and government procurement. Constructive talks were held on sustainable development, more specifically on sustainable forest management and trade in forest products, climate change, and on Multilateral Labour Standards.

A positive atmosphere surrounded discussions on a so-called “Car Annex” dedicated to encouraging the use of international standards in the automotive sector and thus improving the investment environment in that sector.

The negotiations are aimed at achieving an ambitious agreement on goods, services and investment, eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and trade and sustainable development. Once in place, the agreement will boost EU-Vietnam trade and investment ties and provide for more business opportunities on both sides.

The two negotiating teams were headed on the EU side by Mauro Petriccione, Director in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, and his Vietnamese counterpart, Vice Minister for Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.

The next round of negotiations will be held in Hanoi from 17-21 March 2014.

Background

The EU and Vietnam, one of the 10 members of ASEAN, announced the start of bilateral FTA negotiations in Brussels in June 2012.

The EU and Vietnam have strong trade ties. Vietnam is the EU's fifth largest trading partner within ASEAN (and 35th out of the EU's total trade). In 2012, two-way trade amounted to almost €24 billion. The EU is one of the largest foreign direct investors, committing €1.37 billion in total.

Vietnam is the third ASEAN country to hold FTA negotiations with the EU after Singapore and Malaysia, and followed by Thailand.

While pursuing a bilateral approach, the EU is not losing sight of the ultimate goal of achieving an agreement with ASEAN as a whole, one of the most dynamic regions in the world. The EU is therefore looking to reach an ambitious agreement with Vietnam that is coherent with other individual FTAs with ASEAN member states.

Figures for EU-Vietnam trade in goods (2012):

  • EU exports to Vietnam: €5.3 billion
  • EU imports from Vietnam: €18.5 billion
  • Total trade in goods: €23.8 billion

EU exports are mainly high tech products including electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles, pharmaceutical products and iron and steel. Vietnam's key exports to the EU include telephone sets, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, fishery products, and furniture.

For more information

EU-Vietnam trade relations

EU-ASEAN

EU and Vietnam move closer to starting trade negotiations, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 31 March 2012 - Press release

Speech by EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht: "EU-ASEAN: An efficient machine for the next 45 years", 19 June 2012, Brussels

European Commission's industry consultation during the negotiation process