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Commissioner Malmström announces conclusion of EU-Vietnam free trade talks

The EU and Vietnam have reached a political agreement on the free trade agreement after two years and a half of negotiations. Commissioner Malmström said that all political aspects had been resolved, with only technical questions to be addressed in fall. Among these is the integration of the new investor protection provisions which are currently developed.

The negotiating teams agreed on a full tariff liberalisation with immediate effect for chapters 50 to 60. Most of the tariff lines of chapter 61, 62 and 63 will be cut over a 5 to 7 year period for the EU and 10 years for Vietnam (with tariff cuts every year). Sport footwear should also be immediately liberalised.

Tariff elimination will only apply to apparel produced using fabrics produced domestically or imported from the EU or South Korea. Further sourcing countries may be added if the EU and Vietnam mutually agree on free trade agreements with these countries. Ms Malmström reaffirmed that the EU could not accept Vietnam to become ‘a hub’ for imported textiles from China.

Once technical issues are resolved, the agreement will be examined for legal consistency (‘scrubbing’) and translated, it will be presented to the Council and the European Parliament for final approval. The agreement is expected to enter into force in late 2017 or early 2018.

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