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)

EU agricultural export to China and GIs protection

In this short and sweet Q&A the EU Commission announces that the budget for promotion measures aimed at the Chinese market will be more than doubled by 2019. Moreover, something seems to be in the pipeline for a GIs protection bilateral agreement.

Question for written answer to the Commission – Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL) – 26th June 2015

What actions has the Commission taken to increase the penetration of European dairy, pigmeat, lamb and other agricultural exports on the Chinese market in a fair and sustainable manner?

Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission – 31st August 2015

Different actions and measures are put in place to stimulate trade in agricultural products. The Commission services are paying particular attention to trade in agricultural products from the EU to China. DG SANTE and DG AGRI officials are in permanent contact with the Chinese authorities to clarify the current standards and different requirements and to decide on next steps necessary to ensure a fair and sustainable trade between the two sides.

The Commission is also supporting the diversification of export markets for EU agricultural exports via a significantly increased budget for promotion measures — from EUR 60 million to EUR 200 million a year by 2019.

In addition, the EU is currently negotiating with China a bilateral agreement on the protection of geographical indications (GIs), aiming at a protection in China of a list of EU GIs. One hundred names for agricultural products, including dairy and meat products are currently on that list. A positive conclusion of these negotiations would further support the EU’s efforts to maximise trade in agricultural products between the EU and China.

(Source: European Parliament)