Processing tuna for export at a Vietnamese food plant (Photo: VNA)

Moscow (VNA) – A joint committee on the Vietnam – Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement convened its first meeting at the Moscow headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on June 29.

[Nearly 5,000 tariff lines to go down to zero under Vietnam-EAEU FTA]

Taking place in conjunction with President Tran Dai Quang’s official visit to Russia, the session was co-chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and EEC Minister for Trade Veronika Nikishina, with the participation of delegates from Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

The meeting, held 7 months after the FTA took effect, looked back at the implementation of the pact, scrutinized its impacts on bilateral trade and envisioned next steps in bilateral economic-trade cooperation.

Minister Tran Tuan Anh told the press after the meeting that the sides agreed the pact has brought about positive outcomes, particularly a remarkable increase of trade between Vietnam and the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU), which consists of all EAEU member states.

Minister Veronika Nikishina said after 7 months, Vietnam-EAEU bilateral trade has grown approximately 30 percent, with mutual benefits recorded for both sides. Improved performance has been posted for not only commodities subject by the FTA but also those not targeted by the pact.

The meeting also considered measures to harmonise measures of member countries in such areas as animal-plant quarantine and goods origin certification, in order to create smooth coordination in implementing the FTA.

It was agreed that assessment units will be set up to advise the joint committee in how to deal with issues of difference, such as health impacts of construction materials and safety standards for plants and animals.

The EAEU, which comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, signed the FTA with Vietnam in May 2015. This was the first FTA signed between the EAEU and an external partner, which came into force on October 5, 2016.

The agreement will abolish 90 percent of tax lines, equivalent to 90 percent of bilateral trade turnover.
 
The deal is expected to increase trade revenue between Vietnam and the EAEU to 10 billion USD in 2020 from the current yearly average of 4 billion USD.-VNA