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Parliamentary questions
PDF 33kWORD 17k
12 February 2020
Answer given by Mr Hogan
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-000274/2020

The proposed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has a chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD), which is effective, binding and enforceable through a dedicated dispute settlement mechanism. Under this mechanism, the EU or the partner country can request an independent Panel of Experts to report publicly on the compliance of either side with the TSD provisions and make recommendations.

EU has demonstrated that it is ready to use this enforcement tool in its bilateral agreements : a dispute settlement process is currently ongoing with the Republic of Korea over the ratification of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

Vietnam has recently ratified one fundamental ILO convention, provided a timetable for the ratification of the two remaining ones, and shared a roadmap with the European Parliament on labour reforms.

The EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) underlines the importance of human rights. The EU calls on Vietnam to abide by its international commitments and to uphold its human rights obligations at the annual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue.

Moreover, in bilateral meetings at all levels and in multilateral exchanges with the Vietnamese authorities, the EU raises specific human rights concerns and advocates for the individual cases of human rights defenders. Furthermore, there is a binding and enforceable legal link between the FTA and the PCA, which empowers the EU to suspend the agreements in case of systematic and severe breaches of human rights.

Deepening bilateral trade and investment relations not only enhances economic development but it is also a means to improve the human rights, including the labour rights, situation in partner countries.

Through the TSD chapters, the FTA will provide additional mechanisms and opportunities for further engagement with the Vietnamese government to contribute to improving the human rights situation in Vietnam.

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