The Free Trade Agreement and Investment Dispute Settlement Between the European Union and Vietnam: A Critical Assessment

Umut Turksen, Ha T. Nguyen

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Abstract The European Union (EU) is an open market economy, and against the rise of protectionism globally, the ‘Global Europe: Competing in the world’ communication of European Commission in 2006 reflected the EU perspective that Free Trade Agreements as alternatives can go further and faster in promoting openness and integration, by tackling issues which are not readily available for multilateral negotiations and by preparing the stepping stones for the next level of multilateral liberalization. After the prolonged negotiations and the EU’s legislative processes, the European Parliament gave its consent to both agreements of European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement on 12 February 2020. Those bilateral instruments promote enhanced transparency and regulatory best practices that are consistent with existing international norms or standards, also an important stepping stone and a show-case for the EU’s longer-term goal of a region-to-region (EU - Southeast Asia) trade deal. Those agreements have established a new two-level judicial structure with the strong judicial character (Investment Tribunal System – ITS) which Vietnam has accepted via legally binding commitments. It is important for Vietnam to follow the good governance standards and the rule of law principles. If the ITS works well, it will provide additional safeguards and guarantees to investors whereby FDI flows to Vietnam are likely to increase. Finally, the ITS regime provides a powerful incentive or a catalyst to review and modernize the domestic legal system of Vietnam not only to improve the investment eco-system in Vietnam but to pave the way for optimization of its economic potential and competitive power in the region (i.e. in the ASEAN).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-83
Number of pages41
JournalVietnamese Journal of Legal Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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Article published online on 21st May 2021

© 2021 Umut Turksen et al., published by Sciendo
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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