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EU-Vietnam conclude negotiations on free trade pact

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker were present at the signing ceremony of the trade pact between both these nations. The event was celebrated as the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam-EU diplomatic ties.

Vietnam and the EU agreed to complete the process of the deal negotiations as soon as possible to put the pact into effect at the beginning of 2018. In October 2010, the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the EC President agreed to commence talks on the EVFTA after completing all necessary technical procedures. The two sides announced the official launch of negotiations on June 26, 2012. After nearly three years with 14 official rounds of talks and multiple mid-term negotiations at ministerial, head of delegation, and working levels, Vietnam and the EU finally completed the negotiations on trade pact.

The EVFTA is an inclusive and high quality agreement that ensures the balance of interests for both Vietnam and the EU, with due consideration of the gap of development between the two sides. The pact covers the trade in goods, rules of origin, customs and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers in trade, trade in services, investment, trade remedies, competition, state-owned enterprises, government procurement, intellectual property, sustainable development, cooperation and capacity building, legal and institutional issues, as well as new approaches to investment protection and settlement of investment disputes.

Vietnam and the EU will eliminate tariffs on over 99 per cent of tariff lines. For the few remaining lines, the two sides will give each other a certain customs quota or partial reduction of customs tariff. The EU is currently the second biggest trade partner of Vietnam, with two-way trade increasing from $17.75 billion in 2010 to $36.8 billion in 2014. In the first half of 2015, bilateral trade topped $19.4 billion, a year-on-year rise of 11 per cent. Of which, Vietnam grossed $14.9 billion from exports to the EU and imported $4.5 billion worth of goods from the market.