12 February 2020
The European Parliament has approved the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement with a large majority.
The European Parliament has approved the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement with a large majority. Speaking after the vote, ECR rapporteur Geert Bourgeois said:
“It is now up to the European Union to promote rules based trade and to show by example that trade delivers, brings people together and raises standards worldwide on safety, labour, environment and human rights.”
Bourgeois believes that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will ensure the EU assumes its role as a geopolitical actor and takes the lead on rules based trade:
“Vietnam has a vibrant economy of more than 95 million consumers, a growing middle class and a young, dynamic workforce. It is a market with big opportunities for the export of agricultural and industrial products, and services.
“By giving consent to this trade deal with Vietnam, the European Union sends a positive signal to the ASEAN region and the rest of the world at a time of rising trade tensions. Not only does this deal contain chapters related to economic sectors, it also contains a modern chapter on sustainable development that shows how these agreements can lift people out of poverty.”
The agreement stipulates the abolition of almost all customs duties between both parties, with the greater part coming into fruition as soon as the free trade agreement enters into force, and remaining duties to be phased out within a 10-year period. The trade agreement also contains detailed rules for determining the origin of goods. Only a few sensitive agricultural products will not be fully liberalised.
The EU is already one of Vietnam’s largest trading partners after China and almost on par with the USA and South Korea while Vietnam is the 16th largest trading partner of the EU.
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