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Vietnam | Brussels, 26 June 2018

EU and Vietnam finalise trade and investment discussions

Commissioner Malmström and Vietnamese Minister for Trade and Industry Trần Tuấn Anh agreed on a final text for the EU-Vietnam trade agreement, formally concluding the legal review of the document. In a meeting held in Brussels on 25 June, they also concluded discussions on an Investment Protection Agreement (IPA).

The Commission will now translate the trade agreement text into the other 22 EU official languages and launch the legal review of the IPA text, paving the way towards the signature and conclusion of these two agreements.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: "The agreement is a great opportunity for European exporters. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing countries in South East Asia, a market with significant potential for the EU's agricultural, industrial and services exports. Having concluded the legal review, we now hope to conclude the trade agreements swiftly to allow EU firms, workers, farmers and consumers to reap the benefits as soon as possible. Vietnam is a good example of a developing country seizing the opportunities of open global trade, hand in hand with clear commitments to respect human rights and to comply with International Labour Organisation conventions."

Vietnam has become the EU's second biggest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after Singapore and ahead of Malaysia, with trade worth € 47.6 billion in 2017.

The trade agreement will eliminate nearly all tariffs (over 99%). Vietnam will liberalise 65% of import duties on EU exports to Vietnam at entry into force, with the remainder of duties being gradually eliminated over a 10-year period. The agreement will also contain specific provisions to address non-tariff barriers in the automotive sector, and will provide protection for traditional European food and drink products, like Rioja or Roquefort, in Vietnam. Through the agreement EU firms will also be allowed to bid for public contracts with Vietnamese authorities and state owned enterprises. Alongside the recently agreed deal with Singapore, this agreement will make further strides towards setting high standards and rules in the ASEAN region, helping to pave the way for a future region-to-region trade and investment agreement.

As well as offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement also includes a comprehensive chapter on trade and sustainable development; setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection; as well as strengthening joint actions on sustainable development and climate change and fully safeguarding public services. Both agreements reaffirm obligations to respect universal human rights principles.

Next steps

Once translated, the Commission will make a proposal to the Council for signature and conclusion of the agreements. After signature the Council will send the agreements to the European Parliament

In the meantime, the Commission is continuing the necessary preparatory work to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the trade agreement, including on animal and plant health (sanitary and phytosanitary issues) and labour issues.

For More Information

EU-Vietnam trade relations