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Vietnamese leather and footwear exporters must comply with the European Union (EU)-Vietnam free trade agreement’s (EV-FTA) rules of origin and be prepared to deal with EU barriers and anti-dumping measures when it takes effect in 2019, exporters were told at a recent seminar in Ho Chi Minh City.

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The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) needs to balance both sides’ interests and respects the articles that they have agreed on, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam.

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The meeting, organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project (EU-Mutrap), was held to help exporters take advantage of the EV-FTA when it takes effect in 2019.

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Vietnamese firms are “overly-optimistic” about labour conditions regulated in the EU-Việt Nam trade agreement, a Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) official said.

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Vietnamese exporters of fruits and vegetables must improve hygienic standards of their products to avoid technical barriers imposed by the EU market, experts said at a meeting held on Monday in HCM City.

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Vietnam’s shrimp exports to the EU market reached 483.6 million USD in the first eight months of this year, a rise of 30 percent over the same period last year, making the EU the top market of Vietnamese shrimp, the place which was earlier held by Japan.

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Experts feel the Vietnam-European Union (EU) free trade agreement (FTA), which may tentatively be ratified by early 2018, will allow Vietnam to consolidate its position as a leading exporter to the EU. After the deal takes effect, 71 per cent of Vietnamese exports to the EU will be duty free while other tax lines will be dropped in the following seven years.

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A top European trade official warned Friday that a free trade pact with Vietnam could be scuppered if the communist country fails to address rights issues, saying the matter was central to ongoing talks.

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The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is considered a comprehensive trade agreement covering a wide area of sectors and also has an equal elimination of tariffs from both sides, is anticipated to bring about benefits and opportunities for both economies in multiple ways throughout the years.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaking at his talks with Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in The Hague on Monday, said the Netherlands supports the early signing and ratification of the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement.

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