BRUSSELS - The European Union and Vietnam will start negotiations on a free trade pact soon, EU and Vietnamese leaders said on Monday, fuelling Vietnamese hopes of being recognized by the EU as a free market economy.
EU, Vietnam say to start talks on free-trade pact soon
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) shakes hands with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung before their meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Monday - Photo: Reuters BRUSSELS - The European Union and Vietnam will start negotiations on a free trade pact soon, EU and Vietnamese leaders said on Monday, fuelling Vietnamese hopes of being recognized by the EU as a free market economy.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said free trade talks should also lead to an end to contentious EU import duties on Vietnamese-made shoes and greater access for Vietnam to the EU’s consumer markets under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences for developing states.
“With the result obtained on Tuesday, the recognition by the European Union of Vietnam as a market economy ... will be agreed soon,” the Prime Minister told journalists after a meeting with Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the EU’s executive Commission.
The EU and Vietnam will launch free trade talks “as soon as possible”, Barroso said.
The two leaders met on the first day of a two-day summit of EU and Asian heads of state, which will address global financial governance issues, IMF voting rights, security issues, climate change and international trade.
Since talks for a global trade accord stalled at the World Trade Organization in 2006, the European Union has pursued bilateral trade accords, notably with Asian trading powers.
The bloc will this week sign its first bilateral free trade pact -- with South Korea -- and hopes to seal a deal with India this year.
With efforts frustrated for a regional trade accord with the ten-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU is considering individual pacts with Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.