Claas Winkler

Entry into force of the EU Vietnam Free Trade Agreement on

As of August 1, 2020, tariffs on almost all goods exported from the EU to Vietnam will be abolished.  The reason for this is the entry into force of the trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam.  In addition, business in Vietnam is also becoming easier for European companies.  They can now invest on the same terms as local competitors and seek public contracts.

Goods exported today from the EU to Vietnam are primarily high‑tech products such as electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles and pharmaceuticals.  Vietnam’s main exports to the EU are electronic goods, footwear, textiles and clothing, as well as coffee, rice, seafood and furniture.  With a total of €7.4 billion in direct investment (2018), the EU is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam.  Most of the EU investment is in the industrial processing and manufacturing sectors.

The EU had not until now entered into such a comprehensive agreement with any other developing country.  It should be noted that the agreement also takes into account the situation in Vietnam.  Due primarily to Vietnam’s high development needs, the country has been given a period of 10 years to abolish its tariffs on EU imports.  Despite this, many important EU exports, such as medicines, chemicals or machinery, can already be imported duty‑free.  Moreover, agricultural and food products such as beef or olive oil will no longer be subject to customs duties in three years, and tariffs for dairy products, fruit and vegetables will be removed no later than five years from now.  The agreement also contains specific provisions to remove regulatory barriers to the export of EU motor vehicles and provides protection against counterfeiting for 169 traditional European food and drink products (e.g., Roquefort cheese, port wine and sherry, Irish cream and Prosciutto di Parma ham).

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