EUROPE: EU launches free trade talks with Vietnam
The European Union (EU) and Vietnam have officially launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two markets.
The two sides are seeking a comprehensive agreement covering tariffs and non-tariff barriers as well as commitments on other trade related aspects, including procurement, regulatory issues, competition, services and sustainable development.
"I'm delighted to announce the opening of trade negotiations with Vietnam. The potential for both sides is enormous and the first negotiating round should take place just after the summer break", said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
"Vietnam is our third partner in the ASEAN region after Singapore and Malaysia with whom we launch individual negotiations. After that, our door remains open. We are continuing our contacts with a number of other ASEAN Member States, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, and Europe will be ready to move whenever they are."
The EU and Vietnam initiated a Partnership Cooperation Agreement in 2010, a first step towards establishing closer economic and political ties. While they are pursuing a bilateral approach to the talks, the EU said its ultimate goal is achieving an agreement with the ASEAN region as a whole.
The EU imported EUR12.8bn worth of products from Vietnam in 2011, with the main items including footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, seafood and leather furniture. The EU's exports to Vietnam were valued at EUR5.2bn and were dominated by high-tech products, aircraft, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel.
The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), which represents athletic footwear and active apparel brands such as Adidas, Puma, Lotto and Tecnica, said it welcomed the talks.
A successful FTA will allow the sporting goods industry to expand and develop production in Vietnam, while maintaining design, distribution and marketing in the EU, it said.
When it is in place, a FTA, including full and immediate elimination of duties for footwear, apparel and bags, will boost growth and job opportunities for the EU and Vietnam, the FESI emphasised.
From toxic T-shirts to virtual fitting rooms, defamatory garments and compostable shoes, the clothing and textiles industry in 2012 was anything but dull....
Yue Yuen, the world's largest manufacturer of branded athletic and casual footwear, has seen its full-year profit jump 12.5% helped by higher sales and more stable material prices....
Levi Strauss, the world's largest jeans manufacturer, has pledged to phase out hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020, following pressure from environmental group Greenpeace....
Reiner Seiz, chief supply chain officer at German sportswear brand Puma, has resigned - a day after it was revealed chief executive Franz Koch is to leave the business next year....
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has launched a campaign calling on denim giant Levi Strauss & Co to commit to eliminating certain chemical substances from its garments and manufacturing proces...
The ecological footprint of cotton from the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative has been found to be "considerably smaller" than conventionally grown cotton, according to a new study....
- M&S to launch supply chain human rights policy
- Nike reaffirms US production commitment
- VF pushes ahead on chemicals management
- Levi Strauss raises the bar on sustainability
- Gap and H&M back Myanmar path to labour reform
- Myanmar minimum wage set at US$3.2 per day
- China cotton stockpile auction may shake up market
- Far Eastern to invest $323m in Vietnam textile hub
- C&A to add "accurate fit" label to garments
- US retail landscape "mediocre" over next 5 years