After months of discussions and controversies, the free trade agreement between theEuropean Union and Vietnam entered into force on Saturday. This treaty, which responds to the soft acronym of EVFTA, plans to eliminate all customs duties within ten years. It is, according to the terms of the press release published on Friday by the European Commission, the most comprehensive agreement between Brussels and a developing state. Second partner of the EU in South-East Asia with 45.5 billion euros in trade each year, Vietnam imports machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and agricultural products from Europe. Conversely, he mainly sells to the Old Continent telecommunications equipment, textiles and food products (fish, rice).
175th out of 180 in the press freedom ranking
These new links with a country held by an authoritarian communist regime pose a problem. In February, 70 NGOs had alerted, without success, the European Parliament on the non-respect of human and social rights that was going on there. Vietnam occupies 175th place (out of 180) in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom ranking. The associations also highlight the ecological cost of this deal, Hanoi showing little concern for environmental issues.
In response, Brussels highlights the eight fundamental conventions of the International Labor Organization that Vietnam has pledged to ratify and the possibility for the 27 to take action in the event of “serious violation of human rights. man”. Hanoi also pledged the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other environmental agreements. For Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, this treaty would thus show “how trade policy can be a force in the service of good”.