The EU’s free trade agreement with Vietnam is expected to boost European growth and job creation in the retail sector, as well as the development of Vietnam, according to EU trade negotiators, experts and business leaders, who spoke recently at an event by the Mission of Vietnam to the EU and BusinessEurope in Brussels.
The EU retail sector has a double interest in Vietnam as it is our second largest source of fast-moving consumer goods after China and because of growing interest for investment in retail stores in Vietnam. The scale of the potential gain for the sector is enormous and for retail, “the FTA with Vietnam is more important than TTIP [with the US], CETA [with Canada] and the Japan agreement combined,” according to EU sources.
EU retailers currently import 8 per cent of fast-moving consumer goods from Vietnam, a figure still well behind the 50 per cent imported from China, but growing fast and set to get a boost from the elimination of tariffs under the FTA, which would lower costs for importers and European consumers.
Among key export items, garments and textiles witnessed an increased turnover of $15.5 billion, up 4.2 per cent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2016, and footwear ($8.6 billion, up 8.1 per cent). Even without the FTA, EU clothing imports from Vietnam increased by 3.2 per cent in 2015.