The EU and Vietnam have agreed to strengthen the disciplines of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC). In particular, Vietnam is committed to strengthening the enforcement of international standards in the development of its regulations. The agreement also contains a chapter on health and plant health measures (SPS), which specifically aims to facilitate trade in plant and animal products, in which the parties have agreed on a number of important principles such as regionalisation and the recognition of the EU as a single unit. These provisions will facilitate access to the Vietnamese market by EU companies that manufacture a large number of products, including electrical appliances, information technology and food and beverage products. In 2015, the EU and Vietnam agreed on the principle of a comprehensive and ambitious trade and investment agreement. This free trade agreement (FTA) is the second largest in the ASEAN region after Singapore and is another part of the EU`s ultimate goal of a free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN. The TFUE calls on Vietnam and the EU (which have not yet done so) to ratify the eight core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO); (ii) respect, promotion and effective implementation of the ILO`s fundamental principles on fundamental rights in the workplace; and (iii) the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other international environmental agreements, including actions to promote the conservation and sustainable management of animals, wildlife, biodiversity, forestry and fisheries. To this end, independent civil society will be involved in monitoring the implementation of these commitments by both parties. Vietnam has already taken several steps to meet its obligations, including the ratification in June 2019 of ILO Convention 98 on collective bargaining, the adoption of a revised labour code in November 2019 and the adoption of a resolution allowing Vietnam to accede to ILO Convention 105 on the abolition of forced labour in June 2020. Such agreements illustrate the strength of EU-Vietnam relations and the opportunities Europe sees in the Southeast Asian country. The EU is achieving a long-term goal of increasing its influence and expansion in ASEAN markets by targeting Vietnam, and European entrepreneurs will have better access to one of the fastest growing Asian economies when the agreements come into force. Despite the interruption of the coronavirus pandemic and the slowdown in the global economy, Vietnam is expected to continue to record economic growth of 4.8% this year, returning to 6.8% in 2021. The free trade agreement focuses on duty-free trade.
It provides for the total abolition of almost all tariffs, with the exception of certain tariff quotas subject to duty-free tariff quotas.