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)

Top 10 articles in 2019

Dear readers and friends,

another year passed and I have to thank you everyone for the time spent reading this blog, sharing articles and commenting.

As usual, I recap the most interesting topics of 2019 in the first article of 2020.

  1. Glycaemic index labeling and related claims: EU Commission answer to a MEP query about the possibility to do glycaemic index claims on the labels in EU.;
  2. Transition period to new Food Labeling Standards for Japan is coming to the end: recap of upcoming Japanese labelling rules changes, by Label Bank (Osaka);
  3. EU – Upcoming exemptions for traditional generic descriptors (which could imply an effect on health) from nutrition and health claims Regulation;
  4. FDA Announces Public Meeting to Discuss Modernizing Food Standards of Identity: on 27th September 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a public meeting to give interested parties an opportunity to discuss FDA’s effort to modernize food standards of identity and to provide information about changes the FDA could make to existing standards of identity;
  5. Choices International Foundation front of pack logo: guest article by Choices International Foundation, about a voluntary front of pack labeling scheme;
  6. EU DG Health and Food Safety audit in Sweden – Unexpected flaws in microbial safety of food of non-animal origin: summary of a recent audit of the EU Commission services on the Swedish official control system for food of non animal origin;
  7. FDA moving down the road of Dietary Fibers definition: on 27th March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it intends to propose that “cross-linked phosphorylated RS4” – regardless of source – be added to the definition of dietary fiber. The action was taken in response to a citizen petition from MGP Ingredients Inc;
  8. Food Allergy Forum Report and New Food Law Latest Youtube Channel; opening video of the Food Law Latest Youtube Channel, regarding the Food Allergy Forum held in Amsterdam on 1st-3rd April 2019;
  9. Japan – Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO ‘evocation’ case: in light of the application of the EU-Japan free trade agreement, this Q&A between a MEP and the EU Commission, raise a curious case of evocation of a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin, recognized under Reg. EU 1151/2012);
  10. 100″ food news n. 3 – Allergen labeling and trans fats limitations in UE: weekly issue of our 100″ Food News, with Bert Popping from FOCOS – Food Consulting…strategically, covering several topics: RASFF pathogen data analysis (00:21), Belgium introduces Nutri-Score (01:22), New trans fats regulations (01:54), Pret-A-Manger starts allergen labelling (02:27), Further Headlines: new on-site devices for pesticides and pathogen analysis.