The European Parliament’s (EP) committee on international trade backed the free trade and investment protection agreements between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam early this week. The committee on January 21 gave its consent to the free trade agreement by 29 votes, six votes against and five abstentions and recommended that EP Plenary should do the same.
The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties in ten years. It will protect emblematic European products, and allow Europe to access the Vietnamese public procurement market, according to an EP press release.
The agreement is also an instrument to protect the environment and further social progress in Vietnam, including in labour rights, the resolution accompanying the consent decision states.
The trade deal removes customs duties; eliminates non-tariff barriers in the automotive sector, export and import licensing, and customs procedures; protection of EU geographical indications on many products in Vietnam; and improved access by EU companies to business, environmental, postal and courier, banking, insurance and maritime transport services in Vietnam.
Separately, the trade committee also agreed by 26 votes for, seven against and six abstentions to an investment protection agreement providing an investment court system with independent judges to settle disputes between investors and state.
The main EU imports from Vietnam include telecommunications equipment, clothing and food products. The EU mainly exports goods such as machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and agricultural products to Vietnam.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)