TALKING POINT

GOOD TRADING VIETNAM

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After years of negotiating, drafting and reviewing, the European UnionVietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is on the verge of being ratified. It may happen as soon as this month and come into effect early next year.

Vietnam and the EU already have close relations, with almost 20 percent of the country’s exports going to the bloc. But once EVFTA comes into effect, it will be a game changer for the Southeast Asian nation.

Like any free trade agreement, there are detailed timelines, inclusions and exemptions. But broadly speaking, the agreement will allow for a much more open trade relationship than the two jurisdictions have previously enjoyed.

EVFTA will provide greater access to Vietnam for EU investors, particularly in sectors such as shipping and banking.

Meanwhile, many tariffs and duties will be drastically reduced or eliminated. Vietnamese exports in machinery and telecommunications – which already make up a large proportion of the country’s exports – are expected to rise, while the textile industry is hoping to see its exports double in the next few years.

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