The European (EU) Parliament has voted in favour of the EU-Vietnam trade agreement, paving the way for the removal of 45% tariff currently levied on the Irish whiskey in Vietnam.

The EU Parliament, in a statement, said that the trade agreement is the “most modern and ambitious agreement ever concluded between the EU and a developing country.”

Rapporteur Geert Bourgeois said: “These state-of-the-art agreements just adopted present a unique opportunity to further the EU’s goal to become a geopolitical player that defends multilateral trade, rejects protectionism, and raises labour, environmental and human rights standards worldwide.

“The deals will boost prosperity, create new and better-paid jobs, cut costs for companies big and small, and give them better access to each other’s markets.”

The approval is expected to open new trade between Irish whiskey producers and Vietnam.

Earlier this week, Ireland|Irish Whiskey, the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry, urged the members of the EU parliament to vote in favour of the agreement.

Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey head William Lavelle said: “The last decade saw a boom in Irish whiskey exports to North America and Europe.

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“The next decade will see an increasing focus on Asia. Trade agreements such as that on offer with Vietnam will help open up Asia to Irish whiskey. In turn, this will support more jobs in local Irish whiskey distilleries and more custom for Irish barley and grain farmers.”

Lavelle explained the importance of the Geographic Indication (GI) for the Irish whiskey as it will protect Irish whiskey from fake competitors.

The EU-Vietnam free trade would also gradually eliminate almost all customs duties on the products and commodities, including machinery, cars and chemicals.