||Asean Affairs 4 July 2013
Vietnam, EU enter fourth round of FTA talks
The fourth negotiating session on a bilateral free-trade agreement between Viet Nam and the European Union (EU) began yesterday in Brussels.
The EU team is headed up by Mauro Petriccone, Director for Asia and Latin America at the Directorate General for Trade at the European Commission and the Vietnamese are led by Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade.
The four-day discussions are focused on the exchange of goods and services, government purchases and investment, as well as other issues related to market access such as the protection of intellectual property. Luong Hoang Thai, Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Multilateral Trade Policies Department talked with the Vietnam News Agency before the session got underway.
Thai stressed that both parties had shown a determination to realise their mutual aim, which is to conclude the negotiations by the end of the year.
The free-trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union is expected to boost commercial activities and in particular motivate European enterprises to invest more in Viet Nam in the future.
Under the FTA, tariffs on at least 90 per cent of trade and commodities such as agricultural products, food, footwear and textiles will drop to zero within seven years.
The EU is Viet Nam's second-largest trading partner and largest export market. Last year, bilateral trade reached US$29.1 billion.
In the first quarter of this year, Viet Nam's exports to the EU totalled $5.7 billion, accounting for 19 per cent of Vietnam's global export revenue.