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European Union; Vietnam: Steps Taken Towards a New Relationship

(June 4, 2012) Based on the European Union (EU) Council Decision No. 2012/279/EU of May 14, 2012 (EURLEX database), the representatives of Member States approved the signing of a partnership and cooperation agreement with Vietnam. (EU States Ratify Co-Operative Pact, TalkVietnam (May 16, 2012)). This agreement is the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) (EURLEX database (Nov. 29, 2010)), as proposed by the European Commission for the Council's decision. The PCA consists of 8 chapters and 65 articles, which set forth the basic principles of the EU-Vietnam relationship and specify a cooperation framework in various fields, including trade, investment, justice, peacekeeping, and international security. (Id.)

The PCA was initiated by European Council President José Manuel Barroso and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in October 2010. (Greenlight to the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), EUROPA (May 16, 2012).) After a two-year negotiation, the EU and Vietnam are expected to sign the agreement this July. However, more procedures are required to complete the ratification of the PCA. It may take Vietnam three or four months to ratify the document, and it may require one year for the EU. (EU States Ratify Co-Operative Pact, supra.)

The PCA is expected to boost investment by the EU in Vietnam and trade between the two sides. Official statistics indicate that the EU is one of Vietnam's major trading partners. In the first quarter of 2012, trade between the EU and Vietnam reached a value of over US$6 billion, of which Vietnam's exports to the EU amount to US$4.3 billion. (Id.)

Prepared by Loi Huynh, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Sayuri Umeda, Senior Foreign Law Specialist. Mr. Loi has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Ho Chi Minh City University of Law in Vietnam and an LL.M. in International Business Law from American University, Washington College of Law.