The European Union signed a trade deal with Vietnam on Sunday, underscoring the bloc’s commitment to opening up its market and trading freely in the face of rising protectionism and trade tensions around the world.
The signing ceremony in Hanoi came just two days after the European Union had agreed to another, much bigger, free trade deal with four South American countries.
The latest deal would eliminate 99 percent of the tariffs on goods and services between the European and Vietnamese markets, although some tariffs would progressively be cut over a decade and some agricultural products would be limited by quotas.
“Good morning Vietnam!” Cecilia Malmstrom, the E.U.’s chief trade negotiator, wrote on Twitter hours before signing the deal with her counterpart, Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s trade minister.
In a later statement, she said: “This is a strong statement for open, rules-based trade and another important agreement for the E.U. in South East Asia.”
The government of Vietnam, in a statement, hailed the agreement as a “historic moment.”
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