Trade Agreements: Vietnam

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 18th January 2021.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what provisions exist in the free trade agreement with Vietnam to suspend that agreement in whole or in part in response to serious violations by either party of the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.

Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, for what reason she did not include an essential elements clause relating to human rights in the UK's free trade agreement with Vietnam, absent any cross-references in that agreement to other legally binding agreements relating to human rights.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The United Kingdom has long promoted its values globally. We are clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of our values. We have longstanding, deep relationships with Vietnam which will always allow HM Government to have open discussions on these issues.

The United Kingdom’s priority was to seek to replicate the effects of existing EU trading arrangements with Vietnam, as far as possible, into a bilateral arrangement by the end of the Transition Period. This did not include replicating the separate EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Instead a refreshed UK-Vietnam Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed on 30 September 2020, reflecting our close partnership.

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