The free trade agreement establishes a framework for resolving future disputes between the EU and Vietnam over the interpretation and implementation of the agreement. It applies to most areas of the agreement and is faster and more effective in many respects than the dispute settlement mechanism in the WTO. The EU will also abolish tariffs with longer stage periods (up to 7 years) for certain sensitive products, particularly in the textile and footwear industries. To qualify for preferential access, strict rules of origin for clothing require the use of substances manufactured in Vietnam, with the exception of substances manufactured in South Korea, another EU partner in the EU free trade agreement. The APC regulates the overall relationship between the EU and Vietnam. It is based on common interests and principles such as equality, mutual respect, the rule of law and human rights. It broadens the scope of cooperation in areas such as trade, the environment, energy, science and technology, good governance, tourism, culture, migration, the fight against terrorism and the fight against corruption and organised crime. It also allows Vietnam and the EU to further strengthen cooperation on global and regional challenges, including climate change, terrorism and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The agreements must now be ratified by the Vietnamese National Assembly and EU member states in the case of the Investment Protection Agreement.
Once in force, the agreements will provide opportunities to increase trade and promote employment and growth on both sides through intellectual property rights, and Vietnam is committed to achieving a high level of protection beyond the standards of the WTO TRIPS AGREEMENT. This agreement better protects innovation, artwork and trademarks in the EU from illegal copying, including through stricter enforcement rules. Overall, ASEAN is the EU`s third largest trading partner outside Europe, after the United States and China. Ensuring better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is an EU priority.