Rice for exports (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)
Brussels (VNA) – The Euro Presse Image (EPi) on November 27 ran a story saying the European Union (EU) and Vietnam are moving towards a free trade agreement after more than two years of negotiations.

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will lift almost all tariff barriers and open the door for European businesses to make inroads in the Vietnamese market, the article said, adding that the trade pact covers various fields from goods, services and investment to government procurement.

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom was quoted as saying the EVFTA is a balanced agreement which will push trade with one of the most dynamic economies in Asia and enable EU enterprises to penetrate into the 90-million-strong market.

The EVFTA will boost the high-quality investment capital flow from the union and other partners into Vietnam, the article said, anticipating that Vietnam is likely to become a centre to connect EU trade and investment activities in ASEAN.

This is expected to boost Vietnam’s economic restructuring and change its growth model in a positive direction, the article added.

The completion of the EVFTA will help Vietnam integrate globally as a market economy, it said.

The article commented that the EVFTA is the first trade deal that the EU has signed with a developing country, demonstrating the mutual trust and common goal of sustainable development.

The EU is the sixth largest foreign investor in Vietnam. In 2013, European businesses poured over 500 million EUR in Vietnam. Over the past decade, bilateral trade increased by 200 percent to reach 28 billion EUR at present.

Vietnam is the fourth biggest trade partner of the union in the ASEAN.

Necessary technical and legal procedures are being completed to submit the EVFTA to the European Parliament. The pact is expected to take effect in late 2017 or early 2018.-VNA