17:12 | 28/08/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - After nearly three years with 14 official rounds of negotiations and mid-term negotiation sessions, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is nearing to its signing. This will create a new impetus for bilateral economic cooperation and opportunities for Vietnam to integrate more deeply into the global economy.
The EVFTA will offer key exports of the two sides more preferences
Comprehensive agreement, balanced benefits
The EVFTA is described as being one of the highest quality agreements between Vietnam and the EU and it could bring benefits to businesses from the two sides. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said when the agreement takes effect, key Vietnamese exports such as textiles and garments, footwear, seafood, agricultural products, and those of the EU such as machinery, equipment, automobiles, motorcycles, alcoholic beverages, and agricultural products, will be offered more preferences when accessing each other’s markets. EU businesses and investors will also be offered more preferences when investing in Vietnam, especially in financial services, distribution, and transportation, fields in which they have ample experience.
During the negotiations, Vietnam and the EU reached a consensus on the framework of cooperation programs in areas of mutual interest. This framework will help Vietnam improve its legal system, implement its commitments in the agreement, and enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses towards the final goal of increasing bilateral trade and investment.
European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said the EVFTA represented a new, better and more modern model of FTAs between the EU and developing countries, helping promote trade between the EU and the Southeast Asian region. She believed the agreement would facilitate the access of goods and services of the two sides to each other’s markets.
In terms of investment, Vietnam will open its market to EU investors through eliminating or reducing restrictions in food or beverage production, as well as in non-food areas. The two sides have agreed on government procurement principles that match the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s regulations in this field. In terms of transparency, the EVFTA can be compared with other FTAs between the EU and developed as well as more advanced developing countries.
Highest ever level of tax commitments
Minister Vu Huy Hoang said under the EVFTA, the Vietnamese and EU economies would complement each other. The two sides will eliminate more than 99 percent of tariff lines under specific roadmaps and offer each other tariff quotas or partial tariff reductions for the remainder. This is the highest level of tax commitments Vietnam has achieved through the FTAs it has signed.
Moreover, the EVFTA will increase the protection of geographical indications (GIs) representing the leading European agricultural products such as Champagne, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Rioja wine, Roquefort cheese, and Scotch Whisky. Vietnamese GIs will also be recognized in the EU, creating the possibility for promoting the import of quality products such as Moc Chau tea or Buon Ma Thuot coffee.
On August 8, in Hanoi, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Ambassador Franz Jessen, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam, announced basic conclusion of EVFTA negotiations. The two sides are completing technical preparations for the agreement to be signed this autumn.