“In these troubling times on the international trade scene - due to increasing tensions and volatility - the EU is pushing for rules-based trade. “We need Trade Agreements to ensure stability, protection and benefits for companies and consumers on all sides,” declared Iuliu Winkler MEP, EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur, prior to the debate in plenary on the ratification of the Free Trade (FTA) and Investment Protection (IPA) Agreements with Vietnam. The vote is due to happen tomorrow.
These Agreements can boost trade and therefore create jobs and growth in Europe and Vietnam. Ninety-nine percent of tariffs and non-tariff barriers will be removed and public procurement markets will be opened up. More than 160 traditional European food and drinks products from a specific geographical origin will also be protected against imitation on the Vietnamese market. The Agreements will help raise environmental and labour standards and engage Vietnam on human rights according to EU standards.
“Opponents accuse the EU of turning a blind eye to human rights, labour rights and environmental protection. I say it clearly: under no circumstances will we give a blank cheque authorising the country's authorities to act with impunity. Rather, we will engage in monitoring the correct and effective implementation of all the commitments made during the negotiations and we will be able to suspend the Agreements if human rights are violated,” stated Winkler.
Together with the National Assembly of Vietnam, the European Parliament took the initiative to set up a Joint Committee of Lawmakers from both sides, which will scrutinise the implementation of the Agreements.
“Rather than playing the game of ‘naming and shaming,' the EPP Group prefers that the two partners flourish together. In this sense, there is no doubt that the partnership will be profitable for both economies, similar to other Trade Agreements signed in the past. These include the Agreement with Japan signed in 2019, which has enabled us to increase our trade by 6%,” Winkler concluded.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States