VN, EU Set to Sign Trade and Investment Agreements This Week

11:53:29 AM | 26/6/2019

Viet Nam and the European Union will sign trade and investment agreements in Ha Noi on June 30, 2019, according to the latest press release of the European Commission.

The Council of Ministers today approved the EU-Viet Nam trade and investment agreements, paving the way for their signature and conclusion, the press release says.

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Romanian Minister for Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship Ștefan-Radu Oprea will represent the EU’s side at the signing ceremony.

The agreements are set to bring unprecedented benefits for European and Vietnamese companies, consumers and workers, while promoting respect for labor rights, environmental protection and the fight against climate change under the Paris Agreement.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: "I welcome the decision taken today by EU Member States. After Singapore, the agreements with Viet Nam are the second to have been concluded between the EU and a Southeast Asian country, and represent stepping stones to a greater engagement between Europe and the region. It is also a political statement by two partners and friends standing together for open, fair and rules-based trade."

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: "I am very pleased to see that Member States have given a green light to our trade and investment agreements with Viet Nam. Viet Nam is a vibrant and promising market of more than 95 million consumers and both sides have much to gain from stronger trade relations.”

The trade agreement will eliminate nearly all customs duties on goods traded between the two sides in a progressive way that fully respects Viet Nam's development needs. The agreement also contains specific provisions to remove technical obstacles, such as those in the car sector, and will ensure that 169 traditional European food and drink products recognized as Geographical Indications are protected in Viet Nam.

Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the EU and Viet Nam have agreed strong sustainable development measures. This includes a commitment to implement the Paris climate agreement effectively. The agreement also commits both sides to respect and effectively implement the principles of the International Labor Organization (ILO) concerning fundamental workers' rights. To this end, Viet Nam has recently ratified the ILO Convention on collective bargaining and has notified the EU of its intention to ratify the two outstanding fundamental ILO conventions by 2023 at the latest. It is also in the process of reinforcing its labor legislation.

Viet Nam is the EU's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN region after Singapore, with trade worth €49.3 billion for goods and over €3 billion for services.

While EU investment stock in Viet Nam remains modest standing just at €6 billion in 2017, an increasing number of European companies are establishing there to set up a hub to serve the Mekong region.

Main EU imports from Viet Nam include telecommunications equipment, footwear and textiles, furniture and agricultural products. The EU mainly exports to Vietnam goods such as machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food and beverages.

The agreements reached with Viet Nam, alongside those signed recently with Singapore, help paving the way for a future region-to-region agreement with the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the press release.