European Union lawmakers overwhelmingly approved free trade and investment deals with Vietnam that will eliminate almost all tariffs over the next decade. The website U.S. News Dot Com says the deal is expected to give the EU a competitive foothold in an important overseas market for the United States.
European legislators voted 401 to 192 in favor of striking the deal. The EU hopes the deal will bring in 15 billion euros, or $16.5 billion, in additional exports from Vietnam to the continent by 2035.
They also expect EU exports to Vietnam will jump by more than eight billion euros to an annual level of 22 billion euros. Vietnam sends a lot of telecommunications equipment, food, and clothing to Europe, while the EU sends machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, as well as agricultural products to the Asian nation.
EU officials say the deal is all about strengthening economic ties to Vietnam amid fierce competition from the U.S. and China within that marketplace. Once adopted by lawmakers, the deal needs to be approved by the EU council and ratified by all 27 member nations to go into effect.