Vietnam, EU begins new FTA round

(VOV) - Vietnam and the European Union kick-started the fourth round of free trade agreement negotiations in Brussels on July 2, hoping to form a cornerstone of a complete pact.

Vietnam and the EU have agreed to exert a great effort to end bilateral negotiations in late 2014.  

To this end, both sides have set a working agenda for negotiations, and they expect to go into substantive talks during the four-day round in Brussels this week, said Luong Hoang Thai, a senior Vietnamese trade official.

They worked on the major contents of the agreement and clarified their interests in the previous three rounds. They exchanged several key offers, including one on opening up the markets for their goods.

vietnam, eu begins new fta round hinh 0
Footwear is one of Vietnam's major exports to the EU

The fourth round will focus on issues of great importance to both sides, with special attention given to goods, services, investment, government procurement, and protection of intellectual property rights, as well as general provisions on trade in goods.

They will now examine ways of opening up their markets after the agreement is penned, Thai said.

He warned of the complex negotiation process due to the EU’s tough requirements, but hoped that both sides would overcome obstacles and complete the talks in late 2014 as scheduled.  

Vietnam and the EU announced the start of bilateral FTA negotiations in Brussels in June 2012.

Once the agreement is in effect, import-export tariffs on agricultural products, food, footwear, garments and other products will be slashed to zero.

The agreement is expected to boost Vietnam-EU trade ties and attract more EU investment into Vietnam.

In 2011, the EU ranked fourth among Vietnam’s largest foreign direct investors, committing US$1.77 billion in total.