Vietnam and the EU have completed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the contents of future trade negotiations on the sidelines of the 11th ASEAN-EU Economic Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang finalised preparations for official negotiations on bilateral free trade agreements on March 31.
The completion of the preparatory work is an important milestone in promoting trade negotiations between Vietnam and the EU as this document will serve as the main framework of the negotiation process.
Trade Commissioner De Gucht said that the decision reflects a clear desire to develop trade relations and improve the business environment for both sides, offering new opportunities for importers, exporters and consumers, and contributing to the development of both economies. The EU is committed to increasing its involvement in the dynamic Asian markets to boost trade and stimulate growth.
Both sides have agreed on several areas of focus in the future negotiations such as the elimination of import tariffs, non-tariff barriers and issues related to intellectual property and fair competition.
The MoU aims to ensure that both parties will engage in the negotiation process with common goals. Vietnam will be the EU's third partner in the Southeast Asia region after Singapore and Malaysia, with which it has already started negotiations for a free trade agreement.
Bilateral trade between the EU and Vietnam reached more than EUR18 billion in 2011. The EU is also one of the biggest investors in Vietnam with total investment capital of nearly US$1.8 billion.