EVFTA implementation – possible sources of information for SMEs

As the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will make doing business easier and reduce export related costs, the SMEs will be important beneficiaries of this trade agreement.  Even though the EVFTA does not contain a specific chapter for SMEs, provisions to support SMEs are included across the agreement (simplification of procedures, chapter on transparency, regulatory cooperation). SMEs can greatly benefit from removing customs duties, simplified rules, enhanced transparency, making it easier to bid for contracts, elimination of TBTs, strengthening IPR protection, etc. Companies that find that their goods are frequently held up at the border, or which struggle to meet local licensing requirements for service delivery, can raise these problems with their own governments, which can then utilise the government-to-government committees to push for improvement.

For the more straightforward questions that companies wanting to engage with Vietnam, the services of the Commission have prepared a number of on-line website or guides.

These should help to get first useful information. Currently, the available sources are as follows:

  1. In order to facilitate the understanding of the agreements with Vietnam, the EU Delegation has prepared a practical Guide (updated in 2019) which explains in clear and simple language the main outcomes and achievements of the agreements.
  • The EVFTA text is available in all EU official languages at this website
  • A lot of useful information for SMEs can be also found in the Market 2 Markets Database

Access2Markets is the new portal for EU exporters and importers to find detailed information on:

  • tariffs
  • rules of origin
  • product requirements
  • customs procedures and formalities
  • VAT/excise duties/sales taxes
  • Trade barriers
  • trade statistics

All content previously on the Trade Helpdesk is now on Access2Markets. Access2Markets includes information for both importers and for exporters. The database contains info on all tariffs, customs procedures and formalities, product requirements for the EU market, for each product – including any special conditions granted under trade agreements.

In addition to key country-by-country information about import and export conditions, Access2Markets has:

  • step-by-step guides into importing/exporting goods and services
  • detailed guidance on rules of origin
  • a tool to help you assess your product’s ‘origin’
  • trade terminology explained along the way
  • examples of how certain tariffs will fall over time
  • graphs with trade statistics

Access2Markets is available in all 24 official EU languages.

  • If on the contrary, the HS Code is known, but you do not know what it stands for or you need to know the name of the product category covered, the TARIC database will allow you a quick search .
  • Specifically drafted for the EVFTA, a document on rules of origins (RoO) prepared by the European Commission officials responsible for customs is available online.
  • Concerning intellectual property, the South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk  supports European Union small and medium sized enterprises to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights in or relating to Southeast Asian countries. The South-East Asia IPR SME Helpdesk also covers Vietnam and provides  free information and services on IPR and related issues, as well as training, materials and online resources.
  • The Trade Defence SME Helpdesk offers importers and exporters easily accessible personal advice in case they are affected by Trade Defence Instruments, i.e. as anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures, imposed in the EU) or elsewhere in the world.