January 21, 2020
EU sees progress for trade deals with Indonesia, New Zealand and Vietnam
The European Commission reported progress made during the latest negotiating rounds for the EU-Indonesia and EU-New Zealand trade agreements.
The ninth round of negotiations for an EU-Indonesia trade agreement took place from December 2 to 6 in Brussels, Belgium. Negotiators made good progress across the board on all chapters, particularly on the chapters on government procurement, rules of origin, customs and trade facilitation, rules related to trade in food, animal and plant products, technical barriers to trade, as well as questions related to sustainable development. The next round of negotiations is planned in March 2020 in Indonesia.
The sixth round of negotiations for an EU-New Zealand free trade agreement took place in Wellington, New Zealand from December 10 to 13, 2019. The discussions allowed for gaps to be bridged between both sides' positions in a number of areas. The discussions covered various chapters of the future agreement with a focus on Geographical Indications, services, investment liberalisation and capital movements, energy and raw materials, small and medium-sized enterprises, and dispute settlement and legal issues.
As for the concluded free trade and investment protection agreements between the EU and Vietnam, the European Parliament (EP) Committee on International Trade gave its consent to the free trade agreement by 29 votes, six votes against and five abstentions and recommends that EP Plenary should do the same. The agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties in ten years.
The full Parliament is set to vote on the trade deal and the investment protection agreement at its February session in Strasbourg. Once Council concludes the trade agreement, it can enter into force. For the investment protection agreement to enter into force, the member states first need to ratify it.