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EU-Vietnam deal paves way for major trade boost

EU-Vietnam deal paves way for major trade boost

BRUSSELS: The EU and Vietnam have reached a free trade agreement – the second such EU deal with a South-East Asian nation.

The deal will remove nearly all tariffs on goods traded between the EU and Vietnam. Their annual trade is worth about €28bn (£20bn; $30bn).

Communist-run Vietnam exported €22bn of goods to the EU in 2014, including consumer electronics and textiles.

The deal is expected to take effect in late 2017 or early 2018. The EU has a similar free trade deal with Singapore.

The European Commission says Vietnam’s major exports to the EU include telephones, electronic goods, footwear, clothing, coffee, rice, seafood and furniture.

EU exports to Vietnam are dominated by electrical machinery, aircraft, vehicles and pharmaceuticals.

Vietnam agreed to liberalise 65% of import duties on EU exports from the day the deal takes effect, and gradually eliminate the rest over a 10-year period.