August 05
Anjum Shabbir
12th February 2020
External Relations & Trade Human Rights

European Parliament grants consent to EU-Vietnam Trade and Investment Agreement

The EU and Vietnam have signed a Trade Agreement and an Investment Agreement, which we reported on in our post last month about the Committee on International Trade’s backing of the agreement, in anticipation of the European Parliament’s vote this month.

The European Parliament has voted on it today, granting its consent, with a favourable vote of 401-192. The Commission has also expressed its support for that favourable vote today, for what it describes as the ‘most comprehensive trade agreement between the EU and a developing country’.

Once in force, the following is expected to arise as a result:

  • Elimination of 99% of all tariffs
  • Reduction in regulatory barriers and overlapping red tape
  • Ensuring of protection of geographical indications
  • Opening up of services and public procurement markets
  • Ensuring that the agreed rules are enforceable.

Now that the European Parliament has given its consent, the Council of the EU can conclude the agreement. The Vietnamese National Assembly must, on their side, ratify it, and national Member State parliaments must also take steps to ratify the investment protection part of the agreement.

The Agreement is expected to enter into force in 2020.

Coincidentally, in a post today we reported on the removal of preferential treatment for items such as garments and footwear in respect of Cambodia from August 2020, due to human rights violations committed by that country. These are goods that have been referred to by the Vietnam Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh as being the chief Vietnamese beneficiaries, by the New York Times.

Certain media outlets are reporting on the human rights violations in Vietnam not having served as an impediment to this Vietnamese trade deal. Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan has made reference to that situation briefly in a press release today: “Vietnam has already made great efforts to improve its labour rights record thanks to our trade talks”.

The EU is apparently also reviewing Myanmar’s EBA status for human rights violations, specifically, the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Read more on the Commission’s website, or in the Commission’s press release of today.


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