Viet Nam-UK announced conclusion of free trade talks

Friday, Dec 11, 2020 18:33

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh (third from left) and UK Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss (second from right) posed for a photo after signing the agreement on Friday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Secretary of State for International Trade of the UK Elizabeth Truss on Friday in Ha Noi signed an agreement on concluding negotiations for the Viet Nam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Anh said to ensure bilateral trade is not interrupted after the transition period of the Brexit process, Viet Nam and the UK have been conducting discussions on UKVFTA since August 2018.

In recent years, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and ministries of Viet Nam have worked to complete the negotiations with the UK based on inheriting the Viet Nam - EU FTA (EVFTA) with the appropriate adjustments to ensure the smooth implementation of trade liberalisation commitments.

“In the coming time, Viet Nam and the UK will continue to actively co-ordinate to officially sign the UKVFTA to put the agreement into effect at the beginning of next year, bringing benefits to businesses and people of the two countries,” Anh added.

Truss said the conclusion of the agreement negotiation was an important factor to ensure the continuity of the dynamic and growing commercial relationship between the two countries. The agreement was also an important step in the context that the UK will apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in early 2021.

At the signing ceremony, the two ministers approved a joint statement saying the UK and Viet Nam share a commitment to global trade and the free flow of capital and investments. The bilateral deal provides vital continuity for our fast-growing and dynamic trading relationship. In 2019, UK businesses exported goods to Viet Nam worth more than £600 million (US$793 million). In the same year, Vietnamese businesses exported goods to the UK worth about £4.6 billion.

The bilateral FTA will lock in benefits of the existing trading relationship through the EVFTA, allowing trade in goods and services to continue to flourish.

Companies will continue to benefit from reduced tariffs on imports and exports, from increased access to services and from the protection of key British and Vietnamese products. This includes 65 per cent of all tariffs that have already been eliminated on UK-Viet Nam trade. This will increase to 99 per cent of tariffs by the time of full implementation. Viet Nam stands to benefit from tariff savings of £114 million on Vietnamese exports. For UK exports, this figure will be £36 million.

Truss said the deal represents the beginning of a new phase in the trade relationship between the two countries as not only does the FTA liberalise goods and services trade, it incorporates many other important elements, such as working towards clean growth and sustainable development.

The UK also sees the deal as a step towards joining the CPTPP.

As a founding member of the group, Viet Nam has welcomed the UK’s interest in joining the CPTPP and publicly shown support for the UK’s accession to the CPTPP in the future.

The CPTPP accounted for 13 per cent of global GDP in 2019. This would rise to 16 per cent of global GDP if the UK were to join. — VNS

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