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France, Romania pledge early signing of EU-Vietnam FTA

Updated at Saturday, 09 Mar 2019, 08:20
The Hanoitimes - Thanks to the free trade agreement, Vietnam will be allowed to maintain its free access to the EU market in the future.
Romania and France have pledged to promote the early signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam.
 
Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu on March 7. Photo: MOFA
Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu on March 7. Photo: MOFA
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu told a high-ranking official delegation from Vietnam led by Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, who was on a visit to Romania on March 6-7.
 
The Romanian minister stressed the commitment of Romania, which is holding the presidency of the EU Council, to sign the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and IPA as soon as possible.
 
The Vietnamese delegation meets with French Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe Jean Baptiste Lemoyne. Photo: MOFA
The Vietnamese delegation meets with French Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe Jean Baptiste Lemoyne. Photo: MOFA
Earlier on March 4-5, Deputy PM Bui Thanh Son, who is also special envoy of Vietnamese Prime Minister, visited France where he worked with First Vice President of the French National Assembly Carole Bureau-Bonnard, Emmanuel Lenain, Diplomatic Adviser to the Prime Minister, and Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean Baptiste Lemoyne. 

The French officials pledged to cooperate with other EU members to speed up the progress. 

The senior officials have agreed with the necessity of the quick singing of the EVFTA, saying that the agreement would promote trade between the EU and the Asia-Pacific region. 

EVFTA

In July 2018, the EU and Vietnam agreed on final texts for the bilateral FTA and IPA, once translated, the Commission will send all EU language versions to the Council and the European Parliament, according to the official website of European Commission.

Thanks to the EVFTA, which was put in talks in 2015, Vietnam will be allowed to maintain its free access to the EU market in the future.

Europe will eliminate tariffs placed on farm produce, sugar, honey, seafood, processed agricultural products, garments, textiles, footwear, and auto industry imports from Vietnam. This reduction in customs duties is expected to increase Vietnamese exports to Europe by 4-6%. 

It would also bring European investment into finance, automobile manufacturing, information technology, and high-tech agricultural products. The impact of this would be a diversification of Vietnam’s economy, provide a path to more sustainable economic growth, and it would help alleviate poverty.

Main TARIFF benefits

 
Tariff benefits for key EU exports products. Photo: Kneppelhout
Tariff benefits for key EU exports products. Photo: Kneppelhout
In general, almost all custom duties of both sides will be cut over a transitional period. As soon as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) enters into force, 65% of EU exports to Vietnam will become duty-free while the remaining trade (with a few products excepted) will be progressively liberalized in 10 years. Meanwhile, EU will liberalize 71% of Vietnamese exports from day one and 99% will become duty-free after 7 years.

Mutual interests

According to Ambassador-Head of Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam Bruno Angelet, the EU is Vietnam’s largest trading partner after China and the second biggest export market for Vietnam after the US. Since 2015 Vietnam has been the EU’s second biggest trade partner among the 10 ASEAN member countries (after Singapore) and, amongst them, the largest exporter of goods to the EU.

Through the FTA, the EU can encourage more European firms to be present in Vietnam, and promote better access for Vietnamese business to the European market, the ambassador said.

Meanwhile, Mauro Petriccione, EU Chief Negotiator and Deputy Director-General for trade at the European Commission, said that the agreement is the most ambitious and comprehensive FTA that the EU has ever concluded with a middle-income country. As such, it sets a new benchmark for Europe’s engagement with emerging economies.

After Singapore, Vietnam is the second ASEAN country with which the EU has concluded a trade deal. The agreement is, therefore, also an important step towards the EU’s ultimate goal of securing an FTA with the whole ASEAN region, he noted. 
Linh Pham
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