EFTA-Vietnam high-level meeting welcomes positive recommendation on FTA

20/03/2011    64

High officials from the EFTA States and Vietnam met on 7 and 8 March 2011 to welcome the report of a Joint Study Group mandated to examine closer trade and investment relations between the parties.

An EFTA-Vietnam Joint Study Group, composed of government experts from both sides, was established in May 2010. After three meetings between August 2010 and January 2011, the Group finalised its report, coming to a positive recommendation on the feasibility of a free trade agreement.

The Joint Study Group's report addresses trade in goods, including rules of origin, technical standards and trade facilitation; trade in services; investment; intellectual property rights; sustainable development; competition; government procurement; and technical cooperation. It concludes that there is significant potential for further developing trade and investment relations, notably through a free trade agreement. 

Alongside the work of the Joint Study Group, two workshops were held in Vietnam in the course of 2010 to promote closer bilateral relations. Furthermore, the EFTA Parliamentary Committee visited Vietnam in late February 2011 to discuss the merits of strengthened trade relations between the two sides.

Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Vietnam has experienced strong growth in recent years, reaching USD 3.4 billion in 2010. EFTA's top exports to Vietnam include machinery and mechanical appliances; pharmaceutical products; and fish and other marine products. EFTA imports mainly precious stones and metals; footwear and clothing; as well as fish and other marine products.

The Joint Study Group's report is attached here.

Source: WTO Center and Integration