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Vietnam to start FTA talks with Customs Union in 2013
Tran Thu
Thursday,  Sep 13, 2012,20:46 (GMT+7)

Vietnam to start FTA talks with Customs Union in 2013

Tran Thu

By Tran Thu - The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – The feasibility study for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Customs Union grouping Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus has been completed, and talks over this FTA will be kicked off in the first quarter of 2013.

Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Trade Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission A.A. Slepnev last Wednesday signed a document to conclude the study into the viability and the impacts of the FTA between Vietnam and the customs union.

The study results show a great potential for developing the trade and economic relations between Vietnam and the member states of the customs union once a free trade area is formed.

Now, as the joint study has been completed, FTA negotiations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013. The Europe Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade forecast negotiations may last for two years and come into force in 2015.

Apart from tax cuts, it is hoped that the agreement will create favorable conditions for banking and transport between Vietnam and Russia.

Vietnam and Russia aim for two-way trade turnover of US$5-7 billion by 2015. According to the General Department of Customs, the bilateral trade turnover totaled US$2 billion last year, in which Vietnam exported US$1.3 billion worth of goods to Russia.

As for Kazakhstan, Vietnam has had a trade surplus with this market since 2011. However, with Belarus, Vietnam always incurred trade deficit in the period from 2007 to 2011 and the first seven months of this year.

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