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Ministers Humphreys and Breen welcome the approval of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

Today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, warmly welcomed the approval by EU Member States of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Vietnam, which is expected to be signed in the coming days.

Commenting on the signature of the Agreement, Minister Humphreys said “I am pleased to welcome the signature of the third Free Trade Agreement with an Asian country within the space of 12 months, following Agreements with Singapore and with Japan. The EU-Vietnam FTA, like the EU’s other trade agreements, will help Ireland’s exporters to expand into a new market which is of critical importance for our continued economic prosperity and in support of our global export market diversification strategy”.

The EU-Vietnam FTA will eliminate over 99% of tariffs and will unlock a market with huge potential for Irish exports. The FTA will also create opportunities by addressing other barriers to trade and will address trade-related areas such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, services, investment, intellectual property rights, and sustainable development.

The Agreement creates opportunities for the Irish Agri-food sector, in particular. Ireland's food exports to Vietnam have grown considerably in recent years and the FTA will support further growth. There are opportunities for Ireland to grow exports in dairy products, pork, seafood, and alcoholic beverages by taking advantage of reduced tariffs under the FTA. Currently tariffs on EU exports of spirits to Vietnam are particularly high at 48% and will be eliminated under the FTA. The elimination of tariffs of 15% on frozen pork products is also significant for Irish producers.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD, also welcomed the signing, stating, “this Agreement will boost goods and services trade and investment flows between the EU and Vietnam, as it removes almost all tariffs on trade between the two parties, delivering jobs and growth for Ireland and Vietnam. It is also a further significant step towards the longer-term goal of a region-to-region Agreement between the EU and ASEAN and I look forward to the continued strengthening of our relationships in the growing South East Asian market.”

In addition to removing barriers to Trade, the Free Trade Agreement includes provisions on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD). Under the TSD Chapter of the FTA, Vietnam has committed to the ratification of all core conventions of the International Labour Organization.

The EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) was also approved by Council. Once ratified by all EU Members States and Vietnam, the IPA is expected to boost foreign direct investment in both directions by providing certainty to investors.

Note to Editors:

After signature, the Free Trade Agreement will be sent for ratification to the European and Vietnamese parliaments with the aim of enabling the deal into come into force during 2020.

The Investment Protection Agreement will require ratification by all EU member states as well as by the European and Vietnamese parliaments before its measures can come into force.

More info on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement:


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
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