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Apr 03, 2020 / 11:50

Vietnam parliament set to ratify EVFTA in next sitting

Once Vietnam's parliament ratifies the trade deal, it can enter into force 30 days after Vietnam and the EU have notified each other that legal procedures have been completed.

The Standing Committee of the National Assembly (NA) has asked the government to prepare and submit procedures for the approval of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in its upcoming month-long gathering, which is scheduled to take place in May.

 Illustrative photo. 

On April 1, the NA Standing Committee requested the government to speed up the legal process and submit to the committee all required documents for its 44th meeting session in mid-April. 

The government in a recent monthly meeting assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to finalize the legal framework for the implementation of the EVFTA, including an action plan for Vietnam’s agricultural and seafood products to penetrate the European market.

Leaders of the Party, the government and the NA have all agreed to ratify the EVFTA at the earliest possible date.

In a meeting with Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Pier Giorgio Aliberti on February 13, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the Vietnamese government would roll out a national action program to ensure successful implementation of both the EVFTA and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

The agreement, concluded after six years of negotiations, has been dubbed “the most ambitious” FTA the EU has ever reached with a developing country, according to the European Commission. It not only includes the almost full elimination of bilateral tariffs, but also a substantial reduction of non-tariff barriers. Moreover, it includes provisions to protect intellectual property, labor, environmental standards, and fair competition, while promoting regulatory coherence. 

The EU is one of Vietnam’s largest trade partners with turnover of US$56.45 billion in 2019, of which Vietnam exported goods worth US$41.54 billion and imported goods worth US$14.9 billion.

On March 30, the European Council (EC) adopted a decision on the conclusion of the EVFTA following the ratification by the European Parliament on February 12.

This decision clears the path, on the EU side, for the entry into force of the agreement, said the EC.

Once Vietnam's National Assembly also ratifies the trade deal, the agreement can enter into force 30 days after Vietnam and the EU have notified each other that legal procedures have been completed.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the smooth execution of the EVFTA will be a major boost for Vietnam's economy amid a global slowdown and the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic.

A study from Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment suggested the EVFTA and EVIPA would help Vietnam’s GDP grow an additional 4.6% and boost the country’s exports to the EU by 42.7% by 2025.

Meanwhile, the European Commission estimated the bloc’s GDP would be added US$29.5 billion by 2035, along with additional growth of 29% in exports to Vietnam.