The European Parliament has today given its consent to ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). In a historic vote in Strasbourg, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favor of these agreements.
The voting session concluded with around 63% members of the EU Parliament voted in favor of both the EVFTA and the EVIPA.
Related: Foreign investment in Vietnam
The next and final step before the EVFTA can enter into force is a vote in the National Assembly of Vietnam. Once it enters into force, the EVFTA will begin to phase out almost 99 per cent of tariff lines and barriers to trade between Vietnam and the EU. Tariffs on two-thirds (65 per cent) of EU exports and 71 per cent of Vietnamese exports will be eliminated the moment the agreement enters into force, with the rest being phased out over a decade-long implementation period.
The EVFTA also includes important provisions on environmental protection and labour rights, ensuring that Vietnam’s continued economic growth does not come at the cost of its natural heritage and keeps Vietnam on the path of stronger standards at work.
Nicolas Audier, Chairman of EuroCham, said:
“This is an historic moment for EU-Vietnam relations, and one which will open the door to a new chapter of increased trade and investment between our two sides. It will enable European business to be at the forefront of the next phase of Vietnam’s socio-economic development, and ensure that Vietnamese companies and consumers have privileged access to European markets, products, and services. Likewise, EU companies will have greater access to Vietnam’s fast-growing market.
“This vote is the culmination of almost a decade of work. Negotiations began as long ago as 2012, and EuroCham supported the EVFTA through 12 rounds of dialogue. Since the agreement was concluded in 2015, we have lobbied hard to persuade MEPs of the benefits of the EVFTA not just to trade – essential though this is – but also to the livelihoods, life chances, and living standards of people in Vietnam.
“However, today’s vote is not the end of the process. In fact, it is just the beginning. Now, we must ensure a smooth implementation of the EVFTA so that companies and consumers on both sides can unlock the full potential of this agreement. EuroCham will be an active participant in this process, and we will work with the Government of Vietnam, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and our partners to make sure that the benefits agreed to in principle are realized in practice.”
The EVFTA is E.U.’s second deal with an ASEAN country, after Singapore, and one of few with a developing country.
The E.U. was Vietnam’s second largest export market last year behind the U.S. with a value of $41.48 billion, down one percent year-on-year.
By EuroCham Vietnam/ Vietnam Insider