In the final stage are the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam. Last Wednesday (2/12), the Commission President, Mr. Jean – Claude Juncker and the Vietnamese Prime Minister, Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, officially completed their negotiations. This agreement will give the EU access to one of the most promising markets of Asia, with a population of 90 million inhabitants. According to the European Commission, this Asian country presents significant economic growth in recent years and is expected to offer significant opportunities to European exporters. Vietnam is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since 2007. It is worth mention that due to the economic growth, the middle class takes up an increasing part of the population, so Vietnam is as an interesting market for EU.
Upon completion of negotiations, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said: ” This is a good deal for the European agri-food sector which will open up significant export opportunities for our farmers and agri-businesses. Vietnam is an important emerging economy, and increased trade will benefit both sides. Our world-renowned EU Geographical indications will enjoy a high level of protection through the agreement.”.
A major gain of this agreement is that the list of 169 products of geographical indications (PDO, PGIs etc.) of the EU will be recognized and protected in their distribution in Vietnam market. Based on information from the EU side, the agreement will be particularly beneficial for important export sectors of Europe, such as wine, dairy products, meat and vegetables, which in depth of 3-7 years will be released from duties that hitherto imposed to imports from Vietnam. Furthermore, the agreement will cover significant needs of the EU imports such as rice, potatoes and sugar.
In 2014, the total value of agricultural products (imports and exports) traded between the EU and Vietnam was worth over 2.7 billion euros. Today the EU exports to Vietnam are at an embryonic stage, which demonstrates that this agreement will open up opportunities for EU operators in this market. At present, the EU’s main exports include infant food, malt, pet food and feed. On the side of Vietnam the benefit is particularly important as the EU is the second most important export market for Vietnam for products such as coffee, cashew and pepper.
The final text of the agreement will be made public shortly and the next steps will involve legal review and translation of the full text followed by ratification by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The deal is expected to enter into force likely towards the end of 2017 or in early 2018.