EU, Vietnam sign landmark trade deal . . .
On Sunday, the European Union (EU) and Vietnam signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in Hanoi. The deal will eliminate 99 per cent of all tariffs on goods and services flowing between the two, and will subject agricultural products to quotas. The EU has described the EVFTA as “the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country.”
Seeking Asian partners beyond China . . .
The agreement has been in the making for a long time; negotiations began in 2012. The EU has been looking for manufacturing and investment partners outside China, with rising inflation and rising wages in China being a particularly important motivator. Moreover, the spectre of a China-U.S. trade war has added to the urgency of finding alternative partners.
The EU as free trade beacon in protectionist times? . . .
The signing ceremony in Hanoi came two days after the EU signed a much bigger trade deal with the South American trade bloc Mercosur. Over the last two years, the EU has also concluded trade deals with Japan and Singapore and is engaged in trade negotiations with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Negotiations with the U.S., however, are gridlocked. The EU’s recently-concluded trade deals demonstrate that progress on trade can serve to counter current trends toward protectionism.
- A2 Global Risk: Vietnam: Opportunities and pitfalls ahead of E.U. Free-Trade Agreement
- The Globe and Mail: Vietnam, European Union sign landmark free trade deal
- The New York Times: E.U. signs trade deal with Vietnam