Vietnam-Customs Union FTA negotiations progressing

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 15:18

MOSCOW (VNS)—Negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan were productive as the second round of discussions that took place over six days ended on June 25 in Moscow, Russia.

The two parties reached consensus on points relating to goods, services, investment and movement of natural persons, rules of origin and customs cooperation.

The outcome was drawn after comprehensive discussions between the two sides, who were led respectively by Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade (MoIT) Vu Huy Hoang and Eurasian Economic Commission Trade Minister Andrey Slepnev.

The heads of the negotiation teams discussing technical points were Dang Hoang Hai from MoIT and Andrey Tochin from the Eurasian Economic Commission, and they coordinated 10 working groups discussing the content of the FTA.

The eventual agreement will encompass goods trade, service trade, investment, customs cooperation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), technical barriers to trade and legal and institutional issues.

At the plenary session, Hoang and Slepnev reaffirmed their intention to conduct negotiations in line with the regulations set out by the World Trade Organisation, while taking into account sensitive areas and differences in the development level of each side.

The two sides agreed to increase their consultations at both internal and bilateral level, paving the way for the third negotiation scheduled to take place from September 9 to 13 in the Republic of Belarus.

Domestic insiders envision the FTA between Vietnam and the Customs Union will open up prospects for a large free trade area and tighten the traditional and strategic relations between the four countries.—VNS

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