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Vietnam set to ratify trade deal with the EU


Vietnam set to ratify trade deal with the EU

Representatives from Vietnam and the EU sign the VFTA in 2019
Photo: Reuters/Kham

Vietnam’s National Assembly will today ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), a deal that builds on trade agreements first signed in June 2019.

The EVFTA will eliminate over 99% of customs duties on goods traded between both regions and commits the parties to implement International Labour Organization principles, including workers’ freedom to join independent trade unions. Vietnamese business owners hope the EVTA will offset hardships wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic by opening up manufacturing sectors to EU investment.

Going forward, the EVFTA may lessen EU power to uphold international human rights standards, even as both parties benefit economically. In light of the deal’s potential to bring $16.9 billion a year of additional exports to the EU by 2025, the European Parliament has disregarded calls to postpone its consent for the FTA on the grounds that Hanoi represses dissenting voices without respect for civil liberties. To maintain its credibility as a proponent of democracy, the EU will need to hold Hanoi to a high standard in the implementation of workers’ rights principles as outlined in the deal.

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