The FTA negotiations were formally concluded in Brussels in December 2015. The signature still needs to take place for the free trade agreement to enter into force. The legal revision of the negotiated text is ongoing, followed by a translation into Vietnamese and the official EU languages. The European Commission will then present a proposal for approval of the agreement to the Heads of State and Government of the EU countries at the Council of Ministers. After the green light from the Heads of State and Government, the free trade agreement will be sent to the European Parliament (EP) to initiate the ratification procedure. For now, the text is expected to be submitted to the EP for approval in the second half of 2018. Vietnam has overtaken its regional rivals, Indonesia and Thailand, and is the EU`s second largest trading partner in ASEAN. Today, EU companies have the opportunity to apply for contracts with Vietnamese ministries and state-owned enterprises throughout the country. Vietnam will allow EU investors to solicit public contracts for ministries such as the Ministry of Defense, the Vietnam Railways Corporation and dozens of public hospitals directly under the control of the Ministry of Health. The European Commission estimates that the agreements will help increase exports to Vietnam by 29% in 2035 and increase GDP to $29.5 billion. Like the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), NAFTA is a comprehensive and beneficial agreement for Vietnam and the EU.
The agreement will remove „99% of its import duties over 10 years and the EU will do the same over seven years“. Vietnam will remove 49% of its import duties on EU exports and the rest will expire over 10 years. MEPs approved the free trade agreement by 401 votes to 192, with 40 abstentions. The „most modern, comprehensive and ambitious agreement ever reached between the EU and a developing country“ will help set high standards in the region and could lead to a future trade and investment agreement between regions, Parliament said in an accompanying resolution adopted by 416 votes in favour. 187 votes against, with 44 abstentions. The agreement is „a strong signal for free, fair and reciprocal trade in these times of growing protectionist trends and serious challenges for rules-based multilateral trade, MEPs stressed. After Singapore, Vietnam is the EU`s second largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with merchandise trade worth €47.6 billion per year and €3.6 billion for services. . . .