The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has recognised Vietnam’s market economy status and kick-started negotiations of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southeast Asian economy.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed in Hanoi on July 3 by Vietnamese minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Norway’s ambassador to Vietnam, Stale Torstein Risa.
The EFTA includes Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Lichtenstein.
Together with 30 other countries that have recognised Vietnam’s status, the EFTA move indicates that the international community acknowledges Vietnam’s economic reforms and its efforts to integrate into the global community. It also helps other countries gain a fair evaluation of Vietnam’s economy.
The MoU between Vietnam and the EFTA will create a foundation for promoting bilateral trade and economic ties. It will be a comprehensive FTA in line with World Trade Organisation regulations for trade, services, investment and other fields of mutual interest.