Upon Final Approvals, New European Commission & Vietnam Trade Agreements May Help Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade

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The European Commission (EC) and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam furthered their commitment to working together with the signature of the Free Trade Agreement and the Investment Protection Agreement on Sunday in Hanoi.

In a joint statement released by the organizations, the new agreements, which will promote further economic development and reinforce trade and investment ties between Vietnam and the European Union, are an integral part of the framework established by then EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Framework Agreement, which governs the overall bilateral relations in various areas.

As per Humane Society International, “while this trade deal offers little beyond cooperation, technical assistance and capacity building with respect to advancing animal welfare, it does have significant potential to protect wildlife, if resourced adequately.”

As the most ambitious free trade deal between the EU and an emerging economy to date, the agreements are based on the joint commitment of the two sides to open, fair, and rules-based trade liberalization and economic integration.

The agreements also further reinforce the EU’s engagement with the Southeast Asian region, which contributes to the strengthening of cooperation between ASEAN and the EU, aiming towards closer trade and investment relations between the two regions.

Following the signatures, the agreements will now be presented on the Vietnamese side to the National Assembly for approval and on the EU side to the European Parliament for its consent, as well as to the respective national parliaments of the EU Member States in the case of the Investment Protection Agreement.

Both sides share a strong commitment to the effective implementation of both agreements and are cooperating closely to ensure full compliance with the obligations under these agreements. The EU will support Vietnam through technical assistance in order to define and follow up on an implementation plan to facilitate the necessary reforms and adjustments, including in areas such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures and non-tariff barriers.

Beyond their economic benefits, the agreements also aim to promote sustainable development in both Vietnam and the EU. In this context, both sides agree on the importance to ensure the implementation of the obligations under the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter of the trade agreement.

“It is encouraging that the EU has succeeded in negotiating a trade deal that goes beyond the usual boilerplate commitments from the Parties to properly implement and enforce multilateral environmental agreements,” Dr. Joanna Swabe, HSI/Europe’s senior director of public affairs said in a statement. “The inclusion of provisions that require both the EU and Vietnam to actively take effective measures to reduce illegal wildlife trade, such as awareness raising campaigns, monitoring and enforcement measures, is an incredibly helpful tool to aid the global fight against wildlife trafficking.”

The EU and Vietnam look forward to continuing working together to ensure these ambitious agreements can deliver to their full potential.

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