EU, Vietnam sign free trade agreement in principle

but more detailed negotiations of technical issues, final legal texts, translations and approval by the Council and European Parliament mean the agreement will not come into effect until late 2017 or early 2018. The EU-VN FTA will remove nearly all tariffs on trade and should “provide significant new opportunities for companies on both sides, by increasing market access for goods and services.”

The deal with Vietnam will eliminate custom duties, reduce non-tariff barriers, protect European “geographical indications” and allow EU companies to bid for Vietnamese government procurement.

The pact also includes a chapter on human rights that allows for trade suspension in the case of major violations.

The agreement will help promote high-quality capital flow from the EU as the business and investment environment is bound to improve now that commitments have been made.

The EVFTA also included chapters on government procurement, intellectual property, sustainable development, co-operation and legal and institutional issues.

Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang said the EVFTA also pushed Viet Nam to improve its policy framework and institutional reforms while accelerating economic restructuring and transforming growth model towards higher efficiency.

However, besides opportunities, there will also be challenges.

Jean-Jacques Bouflet, Minister-Counsellor of the European Union Delegation to Viet Nam, told the media afterwards that the EU’s quality requirements, especially for food products, were high and Vietnamese firms should move to meet the requirements.

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