The free trade negotiations were officially concluded in Brussels in December 2015. The signing has yet to take place for the free trade agreement to enter into force. The legal review of the negotiated text is under way and is accompanied by a translation into the Vietnamese language and the official languages of the EU. The European Commission will then present a proposal for approval of the agreement to EU heads of state and government to the Council of Ministers. After the green light from the Heads of State and Government, the free trade agreement will be sent to the European Parliament (EP) to launch the ratification procedure. Currently, the text is expected to be sent to the EP for approval in the second half of 2018. The EU`s bilateral trade and investment agreements with Vietnam in March 2020 and the trade agreement are expected to enter into force this summer, following Vietnam`s final ratification. The agreements with Vietnam are the second (after those with Singapore) between the EU and a South-East Asian country and are springboards for stronger engagement between the EU and the region. The agreement with Vietnam is the second EU trade agreement with an ASEAN member state after the recent agreement with Singapore. It is an important step in the EU`s commitment to Asia and complements the agreements already concluded with Japan and the Republic of Korea. With regard to intellectual property rights, Vietnam is committed to achieving a high level of protection that goes 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.
Trade and investment agreements develop the commercial dimension of bilateral relations BETWEEN the EU and Vietnam, which are grounded and governed by the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation, which came into force in October 2016. The agreement will add new GIs in the future. In 2015, the EU and Vietnam agreed on the principle of a comprehensive and ambitious trade and investment agreement. This free trade agreement (FTA) is the second largest in the ASEAN region after Singapore and is another part of the EU`s ultimate goal of a free trade agreement between the EU and ASEAN. 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.