HANOI (Reuters) -Britain and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday, Vietnam’s trade ministry said, days before Britain completes its transition out of the European Union.
The deal, which will for Britain replace the existing EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), will take effect on Dec. 31, the ministry said in a statement.
Trade between Vietnam and Britain has risen by an average of 12% a year over the past decade to reach $6.6 billion last year, and the deal will help boost Vietnam’s exports of garments, footwear products, rice, seafood and wooden furniture, it said.
Since leaving the EU in January, Britain has been striking out alone and negotiating new trade deals with countries to replace those the bloc had negotiated.
Tuesday’s deal will ensure Britain does not lose access to preferential tariffs in one of the fastest growing and most open economies in Asia.
The free trade agreement with Britain has the same provisions as those of EVFTA, the ministry said. EVFTA came into effect in August and was due to cut or eliminate 99% of tariffs on goods traded between Vietnam and the EU.
“The agreement will create a framework for comprehensive, long-term and sustainable economic cooperation between the two countries,” the ministry said.
Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Alison Williams and Bernadette Baum
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