August 1, 2020


EU-Vietnam trade deal takes effect Aug. 1; agri-food products to benefit from zero tariffs



The EU-Vietnam trade agreement that will ultimately scrap duties on 99% of all goods traded between the two sides, including beef and dairy products, takes effect Saturday, Aug. 1, the European Commission (EC) announced.


The immediate effect of the trade agreement as it enters into force is that EU exports to Vietnam will be taxed less as of Aug. 1, the release said.


"The European economy needs now every opportunity to restore its strength after the crisis triggered by the coronavirus. Trade agreements, such as the one becoming effective with Vietnam today, offer our companies a chance to access new emerging markets and create jobs for Europeans", said EC President Ursula von der Leyen.


Agri-food products like beef will face no tariffs in three years, while dairy, as well as fruit and vegetables, in maximum five years. Comprehensive provisions on sanitary and phytosanitary cooperation will allow for improving market access for EU firms via more transparent and quick procedures, the EC said.


It also grants protection from imitation for 169 traditional European food and drink products, such as Roquefort cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham, recognised as Geographical Indications.


Strong commitment to environmental and social rights


The trade agreement also expresses a strong commitment of both sides to environmental and social rights. It sets high standards of labour, environmental and consumer protection.


Under the agreement, the two parties have committed to act in favour of the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife, biodiversity, forestry and fisheries.


One of Vietnam's main exports to the EU is seafood, which amounted to US$143.7 million (EUR133 million) during the first two months, down 10.9% compared with the same period last year, largely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


The agreement with Vietnam is the second trade agreement the EU has concluded with an ASEAN member state, following the recent agreement with Singapore. 


Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, said the agreement "strengthens EU economic links with the dynamic region of South-East Asia and has an important economic potential that will contribute to the recovery after the coronavirus crisis".