The Federation of Sports & Play Associations (FSPA) welcomed the official signature of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Vietnam (EVFTA) by Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, Romanian Trade Minister Stefan-Radu Oprea and Vietnamese Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh on 30th June 2019.
FSPA Director of General Affairs, Jane Montgomery, explains: “Ensuring that the agreement was signed before the summer break had been one of the key priorities for the FSPA and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) over the past few months.
Once in force, this agreement will eliminate over 99% of customs duties on goods traded between the two sides. The FSPA alongside our Partner (FESI) is calling on the newly elected European Parliament to quickly begin the ratification process so that both parties can benefit from open, fair and sustainable trade as soon as possible. The FSPA will be working closely with the UK Government on the ratification process.
Not only will EVFTA eliminate nearly all tariffs on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. “The sporting goods industry sources athletic footwear and active apparel as well as equipment in Vietnam. The successful ratification of this FTA will allow our sector to expand and develop production in Vietnam while maintaining high value-added activities and skill-intensive employment such as design, distribution, innovation and marketing in the EU”, explained Frank Dassler, FESI President. “After seven years of engagement to make this agreement real, I am happy to see that we are almost there. We now strongly encourage the new Parliament to start the ratification process of the FTA”, he added.
Moreover, the EVFTA will benefit Vietnam as trade and investment fuel continued economic growth, which has averaged 6 % over the past ten years, bringing the country closer to its target of becoming an advanced industrialised economy. Vietnam has also demonstrated very encouraging progress in recent months in the area of human rights and sustainability. “By ratifying the ILO Convention on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, the Vietnamese authorities have proven that they are on the right track and this new FTA will encourage Vietnam to pursue its ambitious and necessary roadmap to protect labour rights in the country”, commented Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General.
For the upcoming ratification in the European Parliament, we understand that labour rights and environmental protection will be a key part of the discussion. “We are ready to work with Members of the European Parliament to prove that this ambitious agreement is the best opportunity to ensure growth and sustainable development in both Vietnam and Europe”, added Jérôme Pero. By approving the agreement, the newly elected European Parliament would also send a strong signal of open, fair and rules-based trade, especially in times of growing protectionism. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the trade agreement can be officially concluded by the Council and enter into force, thus bringing unprecedented benefits for European and Vietnamese companies, consumers and workers on both sides.