MEP Kelly welcomes EU-Vietnam trade deal ‘opportunity’ for agri exports

Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly has welcomed the EU-Vietnam trade agreement coming into force, calling it a “great opportunity for Ireland”.

In a video posted on his Twitter page, Kelly said the agreement is “more important now than ever, especially with so many challenges economically as a result of Covid-19 and of course Brexit”.

“I visited it [Vietnam] a couple of years ago – many young people there [are] looking for western lifestyles and above all else, western food,” Kelly said.

It’s a great opportunity for Ireland in the agri-food sector. I’m delighted, after many years of discussion and negotiations that the agreement is coming into operation.

Kelly said that the elimination of tariffs over the course of the next few years will make it “easier and cheaper for exports from Ireland to Vietnam, where the demand is growing annually”.

He also added that Enterprise Ireland has opened an office in Vietnam, showing the “potential and opportunity” of this new trade agreement for Irish exporters.

Three years before agri-food exports face no tariffs

The EU-Vietnam trade agreement came into force on Saturday, August 1. This trade agreement will “ultimately scrap duties on 99% of all goods traded between the sides” according to the European Commission.

It will be three years before EU exports of agri-food products like beef or olive oil face no tariffs; while dairy, fruit and vegetables will face tariffs for a maximum of five years.

Products such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and machinery have duty-free import conditions immediately.

In the agreement, there are specific provisions to address regulatory barriers for EU car exports along with protection from imitation for 169 traditional food and drink products, such as Irish cream spirit and Roquefort cheese that have geographical indications (GIs).