Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh (R) and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström during a meeting in Belgium in 2018 (Photo: VNA)
The European Council announced on June 25 that it has approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and assigned the EU to sign the deals with Vietnam on June 30 in Hanoi.
The EVFTA and EVIPA are standard and most ambitious agreements concluded between the EU and a developing country.
Once the EVFTA takes effect, over 99 percent of tariff on goods from both sides will be lifted. Vietnam will remove 65 percent of import tariff on goods from the EU. Remaining tariffs will be removed in the next decade.
Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection.
Meanwhile, the EVITA will help enhance the EU’s investment in Vietnam.
Vietnam is the EU’s second largest trade partner in ASEAN with a trade value of nearly 50 billion EUR (about 56 billion USD).
The FTA was initiated in June 2012 and negotiations on the deal concluded in 2015.
After legal review, the EU proposed dividing the FTA into the EVFTA and EVIPA in September 2017.
After being signed, the two deals will be submitted to the European Parliament (EP) for consent.
The EVFTA is expected to be approved by the EP later this year or early 2020.
Meanwhile, it will take at least two years for the EVIPA to be ratified by the EP and member parliaments.