Britain and Vietnam have signed a free trade agreement, Vietnam’s trade ministry has announced, just days before Britain completes its transition out of the EU.
Trade between Vietnam and Britain has risen by an average of 12% a year in the last decade to reach US$6.6 billion last year, and the deal will help boost Vietnam’s exports of clothing, footwear, rice, seafood and wooden furniture.
The agreement inked on Tuesday will take effect on Dec 31, and will replace the existing EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which came into effect in August and was designed to cut or eliminate 99% of tariffs on goods traded between Vietnam and the EU.
The free trade agreement with Britain has the same provisions as those of EVFTA, the ministry said.
Tuesday’s deal will ensure Britain does not lose access to preferential tariffs in one of the fastest growing and most open economies in Asia, reports Reuters.
“The agreement will create a framework for comprehensive, long-term and sustainable economic cooperation between the two countries,” the ministry said.
Since leaving the EU in January, Britain has been negotiating new trade deals with many countries to replace those set up by the EU.
Many of the negotiations should now come to fruition after the recent final leaving deal was agreed with the EU, and Britain finally exits as the new year begins.