Vietnam, Britain Sign Free Trade Deal, to Take Effect Dec 31

On Tuesday, Britain and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement, the trade ministry of Vietnam said, days before Britain finished its transition out of the European Union.

The agreement, which will replace the present EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with Britain, will take effect on 31 December, the ministry said in a statement, reports VOA.

Over the past decade, trade between Vietnam and Britain has increased by an average of 12 percent a year to hit $6.6 billion last year, and the agreement will help improve Vietnam's clothes, shoe goods, rice, seafood and wood furniture exports, it said.

Britain has been striking out alone since leaving the EU in January and negotiating new trade agreements with countries to replace those that the bloc had signed.

In one of Asia's fastest-growing and most open economies, Tuesday's agreement will ensure that Britain does not lose access to preferential tariffs.

The free trade agreement with Britain, the ministry said, has the same terms as those of the EVFTA. In August, the EVFTA came into force and was supposed to cut or remove 99% of tariffs on goods traded between Vietnam and the EU.

"The agreement will create a framework for comprehensive, long-term and sustainable economic cooperation between the two countries," the ministry said.

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