News World Vietnam, EU sign landmark free trade deal

Vietnam, EU sign landmark free trade deal

The European Union signed a landmark free trade deal with Vietnam on Sunday, the first of its kind with a developing country in Asia, paving the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods between the trading bloc and Southeast Asian country.

It still needs the approval of the European Parliament, which is not a given as some lawmakers are concerned about Vietnam’s human rights record.

The European Union has described the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as “the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country”.

The two sides announced the deal in a statement.

It was signed in Hanoi between European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, three-and-a-half years after negotiations ended in December 2015.

It will eliminate 99% of tariffs, although some will be cut over a 10-year period and other goods, notably agricultural products, will be limited by quotas.

Vietnam, which has one of the region’s fastest-growing economies, backed by robust exports and foreign investment, has already signed about a dozen free trade pacts, including an 11-country deal that will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The agreement with the EU is also expected to open up public procurement and services markets, such as for the postal, banking and maritime sectors.

The EU is Vietnam’s second-largest export market after the United States, with main exports including garment and footwear products.

In 2018, Vietnam exported $42.5 billion worth of goods and services to the EU, while the value of imports from the region reached $13.8 billion, official data shows.

The Vietnamese government said on Sunday that EVFTA would boost EU exports to Vietnam by 15.28% and those from Vietnam to the EU by 20.0% by 2020.

The agreement will boost Vietnam’s gross domestic product by 2.18%-3.25% annually by 2023 and by 4.57%-5.30% annually between 2024-2028, the government said.

On Friday, the EU and South American bloc Mercosur agreed a free-trade treaty following two decades of talks.

In Asia, the EU has trade agreements with South Korea, Japan and Singapore, and it has launched negotiations with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The EU-Singapore deal is set to come into force later this year.

Reuters

Top Stories

Ministry updates list of countries for travel to Cyprus – Israel in Category C

The Health Ministry on Friday issued a revised list of countries regarding their epidemiological risk as regards coronavirus for travel purposes, moving Israel from...

No new Coronavirus cases for second consecutive day

No new coronavirus cases were reported in Cyprus on Friday after 1538 tests, which means the total number remains at 999 for the second...

New yellow warning; temperatures at 42 C on Saturday

The Department of Meteorology issued on Friday another yellow alert for extremely high temperatures on Saturday. The alert is in force from 11 am until...

Limassol Wine Festival cancelled for 6th time since 1961

Limassol Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said on Friday that the municipal council has decided to cancel the city's wine festival for 2020 due to Coronavirus,...

Gilead’s COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir gets conditional EU clearance

The European Commission said on Friday it had given conditional approval for the use of antiviral remdesivir in severe COVID-19 patients following an accelerated review process,...

Taste

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...

Loukaniko Pitsilias – Pitsilia Sausage

Pitsilia sausage is produced in the Pitsilia region from pork minced meat that is “cooked” ( matured) in the dry red wine of the...