EFTA and Vietnam continue free trade negotiations

Published 27-10-2015
Negotiating teams from EFTA and Vietnam met in Hanoi from 20 to 23 October 2015 for a 13th round of negotiations on a free trade agreement.

Deputy Director General Sveinung Røren from Norway acted as EFTA spokesperson, while the Vietnamese negotiating team was led by Director General Tran Trung Thuc. The negotiation process between EFTA and Vietnam has been ongoing since May 2012, and negotiations have reached a decisive phase.

Working groups addressed trade in goods; rules of origin; trade in services; trade remedies; legal, horizontal and institutional provisions; cooperation and capacity building; sustainable development; intellectual property rights and government procurement.

Chief negotiators also addressed a number of topics close to completion in order to finalise discussions and identify a way forward on outstanding issues. The two sides decided to confirm the dates for the next round of negotiations at a later stage.

Vietnam is a significant trading partner in South-East Asia. The value of total merchandise trade between EFTA and Vietnam reached USD 2.17 billion in 2014, an almost 20% increase from the previous year. Vietnam’s recent conclusion of negotiations with the European Union and in the Trans-Pacific Partnership framework have the potential of providing a positive impetus to the EFTA-Vietnam negotiations.