The Hanoitimes - Vietnam and the European Union (EU) have finished the legal review process for their free trade agreement (FTA).
This resulted from the latest working session between Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom in Brussels, Belgium on June 25.
Negotiations on the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) were finalized on December 12, 2015, when both sides were planned to review legal for the signing of the deal. However, this schedule has changed due to some adjustments to the FTA ratification process in EU member countries. This has caused the deal to be divided into two separate parts namely the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection (IP) Agreement.
At the working session yesterday (June 25), Minister Anh and Commissioner Malmstrom agreed to propose agencies of both sides officially sign and ratify the FTA and the agreement on IP.
The two sides also discussed cooperation plans to ensure the best conditions for the growth of economic and trade partnership between the two sides, with the EU supporting Vietnam in enhancing capacity to optimize the deal after it is implemented.
Once completed, the two agreements would be submitted to authorized agencies for signing and ratifying.
The FTA and IPA have been processed amid the expanding Vietnam-EU partnership, especially in economy and trade.
The EU is currently Vietnam's third-largest trade partner and one of the country’s two biggest importers. Two-way trade increased 12 times to US$50.4 billion in 2017 from merely US$4.1 billion in 2000. Vietnam’s main exports to the EU are shoes, textile, coffee, woodwork, seafood.
As of 2017, there were 24 among 28 EU countries investing in 2,000 projects in Vietnam, totaling over US$21.5 billion. EU investors are present in almost all key economic sectors of Vietnam, mostly in industry, construction and services.