Seafood Source | 22 June 2020
EU-Vietnam free trade deal to take effect 1 August
By Toan Dao
The free trade agreement between the European Union and Vietnam, known as EVFTA, will come into force on 1 August, according to a Vietnamese government statement on 18 June.
The deal is expected to open the way for more Vietnamese seafood products to flow into the E.U.
Lawmakers in Vietnam’s National Assembly approved the deal on 8 June following the endorsement by their peers in European Parliament in February.
On 18 June, Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son handed over a diplomatic note to Ambassador of the E.U. to Vietnam Giorgio Aliberti to notify the European side of the lawmakers’ approval. Following this procedure, as per the terms of the pact, EVFTA will enter into force from 1 August, the Vietnamese government said.
The agreement, the “most modern, comprehensive and ambitious agreement ever concluded between the E.U. and a developing country,” will abolish 99 percent of customs duties between the two sides over the next 10 years.
About half of the import taxes on seafood products from Vietnam to the E.U. will be removed immediately after the agreement becomes effective, with the remainder eliminated within seven years from the effective date of the pact.
The E.U., however, will give Vietnam annual quotas for duty-free imports of 11,500 metric tons (MT) of canned tuna and 500 MT of canned fish balls, according to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on 16 June. But the trade group said it is not sure how the quotas will be allocated.
Tax on fresh and frozen tuna from Vietnam, excluding frozen tuna code HS0304, will be abolished immediately once the pact becomes effective.
The duty for frozen products code HS030487 will be removed gradually in three years after the effective date, from current 18 percent. The tariff for cooked tuna will be abolished in seven years from its initial level of 24 percent, VASEP said.
Exporters of canned tuna from Vietnam are struggling to compete in E.U. markets with similar products from the Philippines, Ecuador, and other tuna-producing nations. Therefore, the EVFTA will be a big help for them, VASEP said.
The export value of tuna from Vietnam to E.U. declined 18 percent year-on-year to nearly USD 82 million (EUR 73.3 million) in the first four months of this year.