Vietnam Business Channel

European Union and Vietnam Move To Finalize Free Trade Agreement

Vietnam and the European Union (EU) are working to finalize legal and language issues for the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) and are expecting that the official signing and ratification of the trade deal will be next year, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.

At a workshop on the EVFTA in Paris, held by the French Business Federation (MEDEF) and the Asia Centre, Deputy Minister Khanh emphasized that the common goal of the two sides is to effectively implement the agreement after it is signed and that the Vietnamese Government is creating a plan for the agreement’s implementation.

Although Vietnamese is very optimistic that the agreement can be signed and ratified next year, the EVFTA’s chief negotiator said that the approval process of the agreement could take a long time because the EU is a trade bloc with many members.

Participants to the workshop appreciated Vietnam’s active foreign economic-trade policy and highlighted Vietnam’s leading role in recent global events, especially the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Danang, Vietnam.

According to Marie-Christine Pocin, a senior advisor from France’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, Vietnam has a consistent policy of integrating its economy into the global trade and Vietnam plays a positive role in the process of regional economic integration.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), highlighted the importance of the EVFTA in Vietnam’s global integration process and that the trade deal is estimated to generate an additional 2.5% to Vietnam’s GDP by 2020 and 4.6% by 2025.

ASEAN as a whole represents the EU's 3rd largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China). Of the ten ASEAN members, Vietnam has become the EU's second most important trading partner after Singapore. Negotiating better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is a priority for the EU.

The agreement for a free trade deal includes the elimination of 99% of all tariffs between the EU and Vietnam. The EIU will liberalize tariffs over a 7-year period and Vietnam will liberalize tariffs over a 10-year period. The agreement also covers non-tariff barriers to trade and other trade related aspects such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, services, investment, intellectual property rights, and sustainable development.