Singapore`s history could be an example from which Vietnam can learn. In 2018, however, Harvard University economist Dani Rodrik said in the Journal of Economic Perspective that if these free trade agreements increase the volume of trade, the distribution of these benefits is another matter: “A trade agreement that is covered by another set of special interests can make things worse as easily as it makes them better.” He also wrote that “such an agreement can distract us from the effective outcome, even if it uses the cover of a free trade agreement and increases the volume of trade and investment. Rodrik stressed that the effects of free trade agreements are fundamentally uncertain and that protectionism is depending on them. The EU and Vietnam have agreed on a strong and comprehensive chapter on trade and sustainable development, with a wide list of commitments, including: the free trade agreement will consist of two parts, one for trade and the other for investment, which stands at around 95% and 5% respectively. In accordance with the opinion of the European Court of Justice on the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, it will probably be decided that the European Parliament will be solely competent in the trade field because of the European internal market and that, therefore, the trading part will enter into force immediately after ratification by the European Parliament. The investment part requires ratification by the European Parliament and all EU Member States. The effects of the investment part are applied on an interim basis, subject to the completion of the ratification process. The agreement will add new GIs in the future. Under the EU, the EU provides the same thresholds as it applies under the WTO Public Procurement Agreement (GPA) and other free trade agreements, while Vietnam has a 15-year transitional period with higher thresholds. Both the EU and Vietnam are committed to opening up public procurement to the central government, sub-headquarters and other entities, as outlined in the annexes to the agreement. In particular, the EU is committed to opening the same central public bodies as in the WTO, with some exceptions.

Vietnam is committed to opening the procurement processes of 20 central agencies, including several ministries, departments and sub-agencies, two sub-central government agencies (Hanoi City and Ho Chi Minh City) and 42 “other covered entities”, including Vietnam Railways and Vietnam Electricity.2 Vietnam has overtaken its regional rivals Indonesia and Thailand, and is the EU`s second largest trading partner in ASEAN. Today, EU companies have the opportunity to apply for contracts with Vietnamese ministries and state-owned enterprises throughout the country. Vietnam will allow European investors to award public contracts to ministries such as the Ministry of Defence, Vietnam Railways Corporation and dozens of public hospitals, under the control of the Ministry of Health. The European Commission estimates that the agreements would help increase exports to Vietnam by 29% in 2035 and increase GDP to $29.5 billion. The TFUE covers a wide range of service sectors, including financial services, business professional services, communications services, postal services, construction and related engineering services, health and social services, environmental services and transportation services. Many of the concessions proposed by each party exceed those made under the WTO Trade in Services Agreement, including packaging services, building cleaning services, interdisciplinary research and development services and health care services.

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