Israel signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday with Vietnam.
Economy Minister Nir Barket inked the agreement with Vietnamese Trade and Industry Minister Nguyen Hong Dien in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vietnamese Deputy Premier Tran Luu Quang at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
Vietnam is the second East Asian country with which Israel has a free trade agreement (after the Republic of Korea) and the first from the ASEAN bloc.
The agreement is expected to lead to the reduction of reciprocal customs duties on both imported and exported products, alongside an improvement and easing in trade in a range of additional areas. The agreement will provide a competitive advantage and ease activity for Israeli exporters in the developing and growing Vietnamese market, thereby strengthening Israeli exports and increasing growth in the economy.
“We’ve had excellent relations over the past few decades but this is an important turning point,” Netanyahu commented. “We are formally signing an agreement that will expand our trade, which is robust, to be even more robust. I look forward to increasing our ties with innovation, with all the areas that can better the lives of both our peoples.
“Vietnam is a vibrant, growing economy. Israel is a vibrant, growing economy. And our cooperation I think creates new horizons that will make us more successful together in the future,” he added.
Following the signing of the agreement, Netanyahu and Tran held a diplomatic meeting to mark 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The two leaders discussed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in innovation, agriculture and tourism, and evaluated the possibility of direct flights between Israel and Vietnam.
The new agreement will remove duties on at least 86 percent of Vietnamese products and 93 percent of Israeli products, according to a statement by Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Ministry, and is expected to boost annual bilateral trade by about 50 percent, bringing bilateral trade to some $3 billion.
In 2022, bilateral trade between Israel and Vietnam rose 18 percent, to $2.2 billion. The largest exports to Israel from Vietnam include smartphones, footwear, and seafood. Israeli exports to Vietnam include electronics and fertilizers.
The free trade agreement will “facilitate Vietnam’s exports of its products not only to Israel but also pave the way for Vietnamese products to access other Middle East, North African and southern European markets,” the Vietnamese ministry said.