Wednesday,  Jul 24, 2019,13:22 (GMT+7) 0 0
Labor issues may hinder EVFTA signing
By Minh Tam
Tuesday,  Jan 15, 2019,12:50 (GMT+7)

Labor issues may hinder EVFTA signing

By Minh Tam

Chang Hee Lee, ILO Country Director for Vietnam, speaks to the media in HCMC on January 14 – PHOTO: TAM AN

HCMC – The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) may not be signed as soon as expected because Vietnam has yet to address key labor issues, the International Labor Organization (ILO) told the media in HCMC yesterday (January 14).

ILO Country Director for Vietnam Chang Hee Lee said that the EVFTA might go before the European Parliament in March.

Until then, if Vietnam makes no progress in meeting labor requirements based on ILO declarations on basic principles and rights, the EU ratification of the agreement may not happen, which would be a major loss for Vietnam.

Vietnam has not yet ratified three out of eight basic conventions, including those on collective bargaining (98), freedom of association (87) and forced labor (105).

According to Lee, Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs plans to present convention 98 for ratification this May, convention 105 next year and convention 87 in 2023.

Lee said that such a ratification plan is good but not enough for the European Parliament, whose term will end this May ahead of elections. If there is no progress before the election, the possibility of the EVFTA being ratified by the EU would be low, he added.

One of the things that must be taken into account is the revised Labor Code. The revision aims to align the law with the standards of the ILO, particularly on issues concerning collective bargaining and freedom of association, as well as to meet the requirements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which came into force on January 14.

As planned, the draft law revision should have been released last September. However, the draft is not yet available.

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