EU opens trade door to Vietnam, closes it to Cambodia

EU opens trade door to Vietnam, closes it to Cambodia

The European Union agreed on Wednesday to open its markets wider to Vietnam, while closing its trade doors to Cambodia, rewarding Hanoi for its progress on labor guarantees and sanctioning Phnom Penh for human rights abuses.

In Strasbourg, EU lawmakers voted by 401-192 to approve a free trade agreement with Vietnam. It is the most comprehensive pact of its kind struck by the EU with a developing country, and only its second – after Singapore – with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN).

The deal will eliminate 99% of tariffs, although Vietnam will have a transition period of up to 10 years for some imports, such as cars and beer.

Many Vietnamese goods already benefit from preferential access to EU markets under a scheme offered to poorer developing countries. However, this applies to duties on two-thirds of product types and tariffs still apply, albeit at a lower rate, to garments.

Source: Reuters