The ASEAN bloc has largely eliminated all import and export taxes on goods traded between them, with the exception of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which continue to impose nominal duties on certain items. But these will also be fully lifted on 31 December 2015, so that the entire region will be duty-free from that date. Vietnam signed a fairly comprehensive bilateral trade agreement (BTA) with the United States in 2000. It came into force in 2001. The BTA was part of the post-war „trade normalization“ process between the two countries and was to be seen as the powerful precursor to a watertight U.S. free trade agreement. In June 2007, Hanoi and Washington signed a framework agreement on trade and investment, another step towards a possible free trade agreement. And in December 2008, the two governments began negotiating a bilateral investment agreement (ILO), which is another. This can be done in two ways: first, through more diversified supply partners through larger trading networks and imports of cheaper intermediate goods from partner countries, which should increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese exports. The benefits of free trade agreements will enable Vietnam`s economic development to continue to move from the export of low-tech manufacturing products and primary products to more complex high-tech products such as electronics, machinery, vehicles and medical devices.
In February 2020, the European Parliament ratified a free trade agreement (FTA) and an Investment Protection Agreement (PPI) with Vietnam. MEPs (ENPs) voted in favour of the agreements in Strasbourg. With future trade agreements, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Vietnam -EU (EVFTA), Vietnam appears to be prioritizing its international trading partners for trade integration outside ASEAN. Like the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the CEFTA is a comprehensive and beneficial agreement for Vietnam and the EU. The agreement will remove „99% of its import duties over a ten-year period, and the EU will do the same over seven years.“ Vietnam will lift 49% of its import duties on EU exports and let the rest expire over a 10-year period. Other ASEAN agreements are being negotiated, including with Japan, which already has a number of important economic partnerships, while South Korea already has a free trade agreement. Both resemble the above – the reduction of more than 90% of all goods traded between ASEAN and these countries.