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Legal review of Vietnam-EU FTA concludes
By Lan Nhi
Tuesday,  Jun 26, 2018,16:50 (GMT+7)

Legal review of Vietnam-EU FTA concludes

By Lan Nhi

A worker cuts fabric at a factory in Vietnam. Vietnam will have more opportunities to export apparel products to the European Union when the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is signed and ratified - PHOTO: TL

HANOI – Vietnam and the European Union (EU) have finished the legal review of their free trade agreement (FTA) and have agreed on all contents of a bilateral investment protection deal.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on June 26, Minister Tran Tuan Anh and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom represented their respective sides to reach agreement in Brussels, Belgium. The two sides expected to accelerate the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the bilateral investment protection deal.

Vietnam and the EU started legal reviews of the EVFTA after concluding negotiations on the deal on December 2, 2015.

However, the EU later changed its regulations on the process of approving FTAs. Accordingly, the EU proposed splitting the investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement into a separate deal called, the “Investment Protection Agreement (IPA),” similar to FTAs signed with other EU partners such as Japan and Singapore.

The EVFTA and IPA will be promptly submitted to the relevant agencies for approval.

Vietnam and the EU have also discussed cooperation plans for the coming period to ensure the most favorable conditions for developing economic and trade ties between the two sides, with the EU supporting Vietnam in enhancing its capacity to benefit from the EVFTA when it takes effect.

The support will help Vietnam continue improving its legal system, managing commitments in the FTA and raising the competitiveness of its small and medium enterprises, thus enhancing bilateral trade and investment activities for mutual benefit.

The EU is now Vietnam’s third-largest trade partner and one of the country’s two largest importers. Bilateral trade has grown 12 times from US$4.1 billion in 2000 to US$50.4 billion last year.

Vietnam’s export revenue from the EU increased 13.6 times in the 17-year period, from US$2.8 billion to more than US$38.3 billion. Meanwhile, the country spent US$12.1 billion on imports from the bloc last year, up nine-fold over 2000.

Key exports to the EU were footwear, textiles-garments, coffee, wooden products and seafood.

The EU is also a major investor in Vietnam. As of last year, 24 out of 28 EU countries have invested in Vietnam, with some 2,000 operational projects worth over US$21.5 billion.

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