EU and Vietnam hold eleventh round of FTA talks23/01/2015 196
The EU and Vietnam today completed the eleventh round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The talks were held in Brussels, on 19-23 January 2015. Both teams made further progress on all outstanding issues and are working towards a swift conclusion of the negotiations.
In this round, talks focused in particular on services, investment, government procurement, competition related aspects, and regulatory issues. Chief negotiators also had intense discussions on the key areas included in the FTA. Technical work was completed in three areas, namely the provisions aimed at combatting fraud and the chapters on trade remedies and on trade and sustainable development.
The chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development contains robust provisions, including:
- commitments to the core ILO labour standards and Conventions, and Multilateral Environmental Agreements;
- obligations not to derogate from or fail to effectively enforce domestic labour and environmental laws to attract trade and investment (to avoid a race to the bottom), mechanisms for the involvement of civil society, and a dedicated article on climate change;
- commitments to the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity (including wildlife), forestry (including combatting illegal logging), and fisheries;
- the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Overall, the talks aim at an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on goods, services and investment, and government procurement. In addition to eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers, negotiators are tackling other trade-related issues, regulatory issues, competition, and intellectual property rights including Geographical Indications. Once in place, the agreement will further strengthen EU-Vietnam trade and investment ties and create enhanced business opportunities on both sides.
The negotiating teams were headed by Mauro Petriccione, Deputy Director General in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade and Vietnamese Vice Minister for Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.
The twelfth round of negotiations will take place in Vietnam in March with intensified contacts at Chiefs’ and technical level between now and March.