A trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam is likely to create opportunities for Vietnam’s development strategy and new openings for European companies. However, the agreement is one of about 20 ‘new generation’ treaties that the EU is negotiating, of which CETA was the first to be ratified by the European Parliament. Thus, the EU- Vietnam agreement corresponds to the characteristics of a “mixed” agreement, in that it is not limited to the exclusive trade competences of the EU but also covers investments, in particular through the Investor-State Arbitration clause, and social and environmental regulations, which are competences of the Member States.
The fundamental problem with this type of agreement is that it gua- rantees enforceable rights to foreign investors, through the arbitration clause, but does not provide a mechanism for sanctions for non-com- pliance with social and environmental standards. Moreover no human rights impact assessment has been carried out. That is why a certain number of conditions need to be met before any decision is taken on signature or ratification.