The European Union and Vietnam have put the final touches to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The deal — which is still to be formally approved by the EU’s Member States — will see 99% of tariffs eliminated, easing trade in products and services between the two sides.
UK exporters could benefit to the tune of £20 million a year, as the FTA gives them the chance to access Vietnam’s fast-growing market of 90 million consumers. Opportunities for companies in the food and drink, pharmaceutical, and aeronautical sectors are seen as particularly likely.
Commenting on the deal, Business Secretary Sajid Javid noted that the FTA is the most ambitious and comprehensive the EU has ever concluded with a developing country.
In addition to unlocking a market with huge potential for EU firms, the agreement will support Vietnam’s transition towards a more competitive, smarter and greener economy, he went on. It is also anticipated that the FTA will help trigger a new wave of high quality investment in both directions.
Vietnam has agreed to accept the EU’s approach on investment protection, which notably includes a permanent investment dispute resolution system and appeal mechanism.
The UK’s International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, described Vietnam as a development success and said that UK aid had helped the South East Asian make country great progress on creating jobs, boosting incomes, growing its economy and reducing poverty.
The Free Trade Agreement reflects the UK’s changing relationship with Vietnam, the Development Secretary continued, showing how investment in overseas development can help build prosperity and stability and help trading partners while serving Britain’s interests.
Source – Croners Wolters Kluwer Business
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