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EU – Vietnam Trade Agreement to Bring Unprecedented Benefits to Both Sides’ Companies

Vietnam is the EU's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN region after Singapore, with trade worth €49.3 billion for goods and over €3 billion for services.

EU – Vietnam Trade Agreement to Bring Unprecedented Benefits to Both Sides’ Companies
Nhat Trung18:42 25/06/2019
Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the EU and Vietnam have agreed strong sustainable development measures. This includes a commitment to implement the Paris climate agreement effectively. The agreement also commits both sides to respect and effectively implement the principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concerning fundamental workers' rights. 
To this end, Vietnam has recently ratified the ILO Convention on collective bargaining and has notified the EU of its intention to ratify the two outstanding fundamental ILO conventions by 2023 at the latest. It is also in the process of reinforcing its labour legislation. The agreement also establishes dedicated platforms for the EU and Vietnam to involve civil society in the implementation of these commitments.
In addition, the trade agreement includes an institutional and legal link to the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, allowing appropriate action in the case of human rights' breaches.
The investment protection agreement includes modern rules on investment protection enforceable through the new Investment Court System and ensures that the right of the governments on both sides to regulate in the interest of their citizens is preserved. It will replace the bilateral investment agreements that 21 EU Members States currently have in place with Vietnam putting in place new legal guarantees preventing conflict of interest and increasing transparency.
Following the endorsement by the Council, the agreements will be signed by the EU and Vietnam and presented to the European Parliament for consent. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the trade agreement can be officially concluded by the Council and enter into force, while the investment protection agreement will first need to be ratified by Member States according to their respective internal procedures.
Vietnam is the EU's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN region after Singapore, with trade worth €49.3 billion for goods and over €3 billion for services. While EU investment stock in Vietnam remains modest standing just at €6 billion in 2017, an increasing number of European companies are establishing there to set up a hub to serve the Mekong region. Main EU imports from Vietnam include telecommunications equipment, footwear and textiles, furniture and agricultural products. The EU mainly exports to Vietnam goods such as machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and food and beverages.
The agreements reached with Vietnam, alongside those signed recently with Singapore, help paving the way for a future region-to-region agreement with the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).