Negotiating teams from EFTA and Vietnam met in Oslo from 26 to 29 May 2015 for a 12th round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement.
Deputy Director General Sveinung Røren from Norway acted as EFTA spokesperson, while the Vietnamese negotiating team was led by Director General Tran Trung Thuc.
Working groups addressed trade in goods, trade facilitation, rules of origin, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, cooperation and capacity building, sustainable development, intellectual property rights, as well as legal, horizontal and institutional provisions. Investment and government procurement were among the topics discussed by chief negotiators. The working group on trade in services will meet in a separate session in a few weeks.
A detailed programme of follow-up work was agreed by delegations in preparation for the next round, foreseen to take place in Vietnam in October.
The negotiation process between EFTA and Vietnam has been ongoing since May 2012. Total merchandise trade between EFTA and Vietnam reached USD 2.17 billion in 2014, an almost 20% increase from the previous year. Vietnam is a significant trading partner in South-East Asia, and a joint EFTA-Vietnam study finalised in February 2011 concluded that there was significant potential for further developing trade and investment relations between the two sides.