The fourth round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was held in Oslo, Norway, from June 3-7.
More than 70 delegates from Vietnam and the four EFTA members (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland), as well as the EFTA Secretariat took part in the event.
Talks were focused on opening the market for goods, especially farm products, services and investment. They reached consensus on a number of issues related to legal affairs and institution, trade services, trade facilitation, safeguard measures, and rules of origin.
According to the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade, the negotiations were conducted in an atmosphere of openness and mutual understanding.
The two sides agreed to consult internally before the fifth round due to take place in Hanoi in August 2013.
Last year, EFTA signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam, recognising the country’s market economy status and agreeing to kick-start bilateral FTA negotiations.
During a visit to Vietnam in April 2013, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske voiced his government’s support for the signing of a FTA between Vietnam and EFTA, creating a legal framework for both sides to increase business cooperation and investment.