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EU and Vietnam sign "ambitious" free trade deal

EU and Vietnam sign "ambitious" free trade deal
REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
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The European Union signed a landmark free trade deal with Vietnam on Sunday, the first of its kind with a developing country in Asia, paving the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods between the bloc and the Southeast Asian country.

The two sides announced the deal in a statement.

It still needs the approval of Vietnam's National Assembly and of the European Parliament, which is not a given as some lawmakers are concerned about Vietnam's human rights record.

The European Union has described the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as "the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country".

"The European Commission and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam welcome the signature of the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection Agreement", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said in a statement.

"Both sides share a strong commitment to the effective implementation of both agreements and are cooperating closely to ensure full compliance with the obligations under these agreements."

The EU said it will "support Vietnam through technical assistance in order to define and follow up on an implementation plan to facilitate the necessary reforms and adjustments, including in areas such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and non-tariff barriers."