EU-Vietnam free trade deal gets green light in trade committee

On 21st January 2020, the committee gave its consent to the free trade agreement by 29 votes, six votes against and five abstentions and recommends that EP Plenary should do the same. The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties in ten years. It will protect emblematic European products, and allow Europe to access the Vietnamese public procurement market.

The agreement is also an instrument to protect the environment and further social progress in Vietnam, including in labour rights, the resolution accompanying the consent decision states. The trade committee’s demands from Vietnam, including on labour and human rights, as well as on the mechanism ensuring the enforceability of the sustainability clauses, was adopted by 29 votes for, nine against and two abstentions.

The main elements of the trade deal are the following:

  • removal of customs duties: 65% of EU exports to Vietnam will be immediately duty free, with the rest – including motorcycles, cars, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wines, chicken and pork – gradually liberalised over ten years. 71% of Vietnamese exports to the EU will be duty free on day one, with the rest catching up in seven years. Duty-free Vietnamese exports of sensitive agricultural products, such as rice, garlic or eggs, will be limited;
  • non-tariff barriers will be eliminated in the automotive sector, export and import licensing, and customs procedures. Vietnam accepted the “Made in EU” marking, beyond national markings of origin, for non-agricultural products;
  • geographical indications: 169 emblematic EU products such as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Champagne, or Rioja wine, will enjoy protection in Vietnam, as will 39 Vietnamese products in the EU;
  • services: EU companies will have improved access to business, environmental, postal and courier, banking, insurance and maritime transport services in Vietnam;
  • public procurement: EU firms will be able to bid for contracts with Vietnamese ministries, state-owned enterprises, as well as with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City;
  • sustainable development: there are legally-binding rules on climate, labour and human rights. The agreement commits Vietnam to apply the Paris Agreement. Vietnam scheduled the ratification of two remaining bills on the abolition of forced labour and on freedom of association by 2020 and 2023, respectively. If there are human rights breaches, the trade deal can be suspended.

For more info visit: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200121IPR70703/eu-vietnam-free-trade-deal-gets-green-light-in-trade-committee

(Source: EU Parliament)

Save the date! The Future of Food Safety – 6th MoniQA International Conference (9-11th November 2020 – Rome)

Built on our successful previous conferences “The Future of Food Safety” we will further develop the themes launched by the two FAO/WHO conferences “The First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference ADDIS ABABA, 12–13 February 2019” https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/resources/draft-programme-addis-…(link is external) and “International Forum on Food Safety and Trade 23–24 APRIL 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND” https://www.who.int/foodsafety/events/programme-geneva.pdf(link is external) .

With the aim of ”Transforming Knowledge into Action for People, Economies and the Environment”, the two UN-sponsored conferences discussed new challenges and new opportunities in food safety implicated by the changing food systems.

“Ongoing changes in climate, global food production and supply systems affect consumers, industry and the planet itself: food safety systems need to keep pace with these changes. The burden of unsafe food disproportionally affects vulnerable and marginalized people and poses sustainability and development challenges. Despite the growing recognition of the fundamental role food safety plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the main objectives of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, efforts to strengthen food safety systems remain fragmented and the gains, particularly in many developing countries, have been well below expectations.”   

The 6th MoniQA International Conference plans to take these themes and invite participation from a broader forum including:

  • Research and technology institutions,
  • Governmental and non-governmental organisations,
  • Regulatory bodies,
  • Food lawyers,
  • Food industry and manufacturers,
  • Retail and food associations,
  • Method providers,
  • Media and consumer representatives.

Around the main conference with oral presentations, panel discussions and poster presentations, satellite workshops and a technical exhibition will give participants the opportunity to dig deeper into specific food safety subjects or get hands-on experience of new analytical and electronic tools relevant to today’s food safety assurance. This multi-disciplinary approach will give all participants a profound insight in emerging food safety issues and the associated challenges in risk management. Representatives from international organizations, such as FAO, IAEA, WHO, UNIDO, World Bank, and the European Commission, will place research results and scientific information in the context of political and societal challenges for the 2020’s and beyond. Furthermore, several international consortia, research teams and projects will use this event to announce new findings and reveal new food safety management tools.

The conference is organised by the MoniQA Association (https://www.moniqa.org/), in cooperation with other international organisations. The international scientific committee of key scientists in the field of food safety and related areas anticipates an exciting and highly relevant programme.

See more at: https://foodsafetyrome2020.moniqa.org/

We hope to see you in Rome, Italy, 9-11 November 2020!

On behalf of the Organising Committee

Bert Popping (President) and Roland Ernest Poms (Secretary General)