|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung receives EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in Ha Noi.—VNA/VNS photo
HA NOI (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has declared that Viet Nam aims to boost two-way trade with the European Union (EU) and speed up negotiations on the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two sides after receiving EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in Ha Noi yesterday.
Dung said he believed that with mutual effort and political determination, the FTA negotiations would conclude later this year to help significantly bolster trade with the bloc.
Gucht, who is in Viet Nam to attend the 19th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting, said the EU wants to increase links with Viet Nam and other ASEAN member nations.
He vowed that the EU would make every effort to promptly conclude bilateral FTA negotiations with Viet Nam.
During his visit to the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Administration the same day, Gutcht said he and Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang launched the EU - Viet Nam FTA negotiations in Brussels, Belgium on June 26, 2012. The two sides were seeking a comprehensive agreement on taxation, trade and a non-tariff barrier, he added.
The first round of negotiations took place in Ha Noi last October. The second round got underway in Brussels in January. The third round is scheduled to start on April 22 in Ha Noi. Gucht said the EU had devised a trade assistance programme to help Viet Nam improve its infrastructure and education, and partly implement agreements reached by the two sides.
Last year the EU's development assistance to Viet Nam stood at around 750 million euros. — VNS