The European Council has approved the signing of a free trade agreement between the E.U. and Vietnam.
This is the final step for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to be effective, it said in a statement on Monday.
|European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Photo by Reuters/Yves Herman.
Vietnam’s National Assembly is expected to ratify the deal this summer, after which it would come into force.
Croatia’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman said: "This agreement is the most ambitious free trade agreement ever concluded with a developing country."
Under the deal, which took eight years to negotiate, Vietnam will eliminate 99 percent of its import duties over 10 years and the E.U. will do the same over seven years.
The E.U. Parliament in February voted in favor of the trade deal, the second with a Southeast Asian country after Singapore, and one of the few with a developing country.
The E.U. was Vietnam’s second largest export market last year behind the U.S. with a value of $41.48 billion.VnExpress