On the occasion of the visit to Vietnam of the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso, FTA Director General, Jan Eggert, made the following statement welcoming the progress achieved in the negotiations of an EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement:
“It is very good news to hear from President Barroso about the progress made in the negotiations for an EU-Vietnam trade agreement. The European distribution sector imports every year Vietnamese products worth several billion euros. For European retailers and importers an agreement would translate into improved conditions for importing to the EU, better market access and greater legal certainty. We praise the efforts being made by both parties to enhance trade and investment in both directions.
Despite the growing importance of Vietnam as an economic partner, the European distribution sector still faces critical trade obstacles which this deal must address in order to have real added-value for businesses. Rules of origin are of key importance in this respect. Under the current – restrictive and highly complex – EU rules of origin, clothing goods from Vietnam very often do not meet the requirements for import under preferential terms. This imbalance could be solved if the same rules established in the framework of GSP for least developed countries (LDCs) would apply for Vietnam. The liberalisation of these rules should go hand in hand with the complete abolishment of customs tariffs for all products, the removal of technical barriers and the facilitation of administrative procedures for both exports and imports.
We hope this visit will give the talks fresh impetus to fulfill the ambitious target of reaching a final agreement by the end of the year. We all stand to gain from this agreement, but tackling the above mentioned issues is essential to be able to fully exploit the business potential behind it”.