European Union and Vietnam sign far-reaching free trade agreement

EU representatives, including Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, will sign EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements in Hanoi today. The agreements

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Photo: European Commission

EU representatives, including Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, will sign EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements in Hanoi today.

The agreements will eliminate nearly all customs duties on goods traded between the two sides, remove technical obstacles to trade in the auto sector and allow for EU companies to participate in bids for procurement tenders in Vietnam.They arealso set to benefit sustainable development, with both sides committing to implement the Paris climate agreement effectively and adhere to the principles of the International Labour Organisation concerning workers’ rights.

Today marks the second trade agreement between the EU and a Southeast Asian country this year–the EU signed a similar agreement with Singapore in February–and represents greater engagement between Europe and ASEAN. Vietnam is the EU’s second largest trading partner in ASEAN–bilateral trade is worth $59.4 billion annually–and presents a promising gateway for European companies to reach the region. Amid rising global trade tensions and the increasing difficulty in adopting multilateral trade agreements, the EU has instead turned to bilateral relations, engaging separately with Japan, Canada, and Mercosur–which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Following today’s signing, the agreements will be presented to the European Parliament for consent before they can be officially entered into force.

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