Vietnam and the European Union have completed technical works in preparation for negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht reached agreement on remaining issues under the term of reference at a bilateral meeting in Phnom Penh on March 31, within the framework of the ASEAN Summit.
The EU-Vietnam FTA will be a comprehensive agreement in accordance with principles of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It will cover a broad range of issues relating to trade in goods and services, investment and other areas of common concern.
Vietnam and the EU believe that the negotiation and implementation of the FTA will help promote bilateral relations as well as strengthen the ASEAN-EU regional ties, eyeing towards forming an FTA between the two regions in the future.
The EU is Vietnam’s third largest trading partner and second largest importer of Vietnamese goods. Two-way trade between the two sides reached US$24.3 billion in 2011, of which Vietnam’s exports to the EU were US$16.5 billion.
Vietnam’s main export items are footwear, garment and textiles, coffee, furniture and seafood.
The EU is also a major investor in Vietnam, running 1,687 projects with a total registered capital of US$32.85 billion. EU businesses are involved in most of Vietnam’s key economic sectors, particularly in high-tech industries and services.