On 25 June, the Council adopted decisions to sign two agreements between the EU and Vietnam: a free trade agreement (FTA) and an investment protection agreement (IPA). Both agreements will be signed on 30 June in Hanoi.
The EU-Vietnam agreements are described as the most ambitious agreements that the EU has concuded with a developing country. The FTA allows for an almost complete elimination of customs duties between the EU and Vietnam. Most of these wil be eliminated upon the agreements’ entry into force and the remainder will be gradullaly removed (within different time limits for both parties). The agreements also eliminate many of the existing non-tariff barriers to trade and opens up the Vietnamese services and public procurement market to the investors from the EU. The FTA also includes provisions on intellectual property, investment liberalisation and sustainable development (including labour standards as set out in the International Labour Organisation, ILO, standards).
Following the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) opinion in May 2018, the Commission decided to propose two agreements: an FTA with exlcusive EU competence and an IPA which covers shared competences and will need to be ratified within the EU member states.