On the morning of June 8, 2020, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed a resolution officially ratifying the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), with 100% of the members in attendance (representing 94.62% of all members) voting in favor. The EVFTA has been described as the most ambitious free trade agreement the EU has ever entered with a developing country, and will eliminate 99% of customs duties in both directions. The trade deal is also expected to improve access to service markets and the protection of intellectual property in Vietnam.
The EVFTA will enter into force 30 days after the mutual notification between Vietnam and the EU of the completion of their respective legal procedures. The National Assembly also agreed to apply the EVFTA to the U.K. until the end of the Brexit transitional period on December 31, 2020, with the possibility of negotiating an extension of another 24 months.
In its EVFTA resolution, the National Assembly agreed to apply the full content of the agreement. However, regulations related to intellectual property will not be incorporated into Vietnam’s national law until the amended Law on Intellectual Property takes effect, which is expected to occur in 2022. Until then, the IP obligations under the EVFTA will be applied directly through the National Assembly’s resolution on ratifying the EVFTA.
The ratification of the EVFTA comes at an opportune time, as it will create momentum for international economic integration and domestic economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the ratification and implementation of the EVFTA affirms Vietnam’s commitments to the international free trade system and marks an important stage in the country’s comprehensive and intensive international integration.