(Reuters) EU lawmakers give initial backing on Tuesday for a free trade agreement struck with Vietnam, the bloc’s most comprehensive such pact with a developing country and a sign that Europe has a appetite for a more expansive trade policy.
The international trade committee of the European Parliament voted by 29-6 in favor of the trade agreement. The deal will be put to a vote in the full parliament when it meets in the week starting Feb. 10.
The EU-Vietnam agreement is the European Union’s second deal with a country of the Association of Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, and one of few with a developing country.
Critics have taken issue with the agreement over Vietnam’s record on human and labor rights, although the deal does include commitments in those areas.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)