The European Commission today published the text of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Vietnam, following the conclusion of the negotiating process in December 2015.
In line with its transparency commitments, the Commission makes the text of trade agreements available to the public as soon as the talks are finalised. This will allow all interested stakeholders to become familiar with its content well in advance of the debate in the EU Council and the Parliament. According to the usual procedure, the text will now be subject to a legal review to verify its consistency and ensure that all the provisions are formulated in a legally-sound way. It will then be translated into all EU languages before being presented to the Council and the European Parliament for ratification.
"I am glad that we now publish this agreement in line with our strong commitment to a transparent trade policy" said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. "When approved," she continued "the agreement will unlock a market with huge potential for EU firms. Vietnam is a fast-growing economy of more than 90 million consumers with a growing middle class and a young and dynamic workforce. Its market offers numerous opportunities for the EU's agricultural, industrial and services exports. The agreement will also help trigger a new wave of high quality investment in both directions, supported by our new investment dispute resolution system with an appeal mechanism."
The Vietnam agreement includes all of the key provisions of the new Investment Court System for EU trade and investment negotiations proposed by the European Commission.
In addition to creating new opportunities for EU firms, the agreement aims to support Vietnam's transition towards a more competitive and more sustainable economy. To highlight ways of addressing possible impacts of the EU-Vietnam FTA on human rights and sustainable development, the Commission accompanies the publication of the agreement with a dedicated analysis.
This analysis gives an overview of key policies and provisions framing EU-Vietnam relations with a view to further promoting human rights and sustainable development. It also elaborates on how relevant provisions of the FTA will be implemented and monitored taking into account the lessons learned from other agreements. It responds to the main recommendations made by stakeholders during and after the dedicated roundtable that took place in May 2015.
The Commission is committed to continue strengthening the way in which it addresses human rights in its engagement and dialogue with Vietnam, including in the framework of the Free Trade Agreement. In this respect, the Commission remains convinced that the agreement constitutes – in addition to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and other policies and initiatives - a solid platform to further promote these values in its relations with Vietnam.