Vietnam, EU to accelerate FTA signing

Update: 09:21 | 11/12/2017
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to be signed next year. The two sides are addressing remaining problems to complete the process on schedule in order to boost bilateral trade.
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Vietnam and the European Union concluded negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement in 2015. Under EU rules, the consideration of international trade agreements like EVFTA has to go through two stages.

vietnam eu to accelerate fta signing
Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Bruno Angelet. (Photo:

In the first stage, the EU International Trade Committee conducts a comprehensive review of the agreement to confirm its informational and legal status. In the second stage, the Committee submits to the European Parliament for approval.

Major progress

Since EVFTA negotiations concluded, Vietnam and the European Union have conducted several bilateral discussions to smooth out remaining problems before signing the agreement. 

To finalize the pact, Vietnam now needs to ratify 3 Conventions of the International Labor Organization on ensuring an equal labor environment and equal rights for workers, improving the environment for economic development, and creating opportunities for EVFTA consultation from social organizations, non-governmental organizations and consultant groups.

During Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh’s working visit to the European Union last week, the two sides agreed to address pending issues. They will restructure the agreement to make investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) issues a new deal separate from the FTA, because the EU uses different procedures to settle disputes from those used to ratify FTAs.

After the deal is restructured, it will be signed and will start in 2018 or 2019, The ISDS deal will be resolved.

Positive assessment by EU members

Vietnam’s efforts to accelerate the signing of the EVFTA have been acknowledged by EU officials. Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Bruno Angelet praised the Vietnamese government and the Vietnam-EU Joint Committee for making all necessary preparations for the finalization of the agreement next year. 

Ms. Marie-Christine Poncin, Senior Advisor at the French Economic and Finance Ministry said Vietnam has an effective economic diplomatic policy and the EVFTA is another step toward Vietnam’s global economic integration.

Mr. Jean-Francois Di Meglio, President of the Asia Center, an independent think-tank in France, said the agreement will be completely transparent. 

"Vietnam is changing rapidly and we believe that this agreement will enable Vietnam to be more open to the world. I hope that the agreement will be signed soon”, Mr. Jean-Francois Di Meglio noted. 

Amidst increasing protectionism, the signing and ratification of the EVFTA will promote trade liberalization. 

The agreement will bring huge economic benefits to both Vietnam and EU member countries and will create closer ties between the EU and Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific.

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