|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung receives Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
HA NOI (VNS) — Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the European Commission (EC), said in Ha Noi yesterday that the EU would increase its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam by 30 per cent in the next five years.
Ashton added that the decision, made even as the EU faced difficulties, showed the union's wish to back Viet Nam's development.
She said the EU was making every effort to accelerate the ratification of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) and conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Ashton said the two sides would ensure that Viet Nam met all criteria to get market economy status from the EU.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a reception for the EU representative that Viet Nam wanted to develop stronger relations with the EU and its member states.
The Government leader said he was pleased at the developing co-operation between Viet Nam and the EU, saying that Ashton's visit and an impending one from EC President Manuel Barroso were important catalysts.
The PM said PCA ratification and a free-trade agreement would strongly develop Viet Nam-EU trade and investment relations.
Ashton said her visit to Viet Nam and the one by President Barroso were vivid manifestations of the fine Viet Nam-EU relationship.
Bilateral ties increase
|Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh meets with Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
Also yesterday, the EU guest met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Both sides agreed to speed up the EU's early recognition of Viet Nam as a market economy.
Minh said he appreciated the union's decision to increase official development assistance (ODA) for Viet Nam to 400 million euros (US$537.2 million) for the 2014-20 period, up 30 per cent compared to that of the 2007-13 period.
Both said they were happy at the rapid and positive development of bilateral ties in all fields. The EU is now Viet Nam's largest export market, the biggest non-refundable aid provider and leading investor.
Despite difficulties in the world economy, two-way trade last year reached more than $33.7 billion, up 16 per cent on the previous year.
The two sides agreed that Viet Nam and the EU would increase the exchange of high-level delegations and continue creating favourable conditions for businesses to invest in each other's market, particularly in the fields of industry, infrastructure, transport, energy, finance, health care, tourism and service.
They also agreed to promote partnership in education and training, science and technology, natural resources and environment, agriculture and rural development, justice, culture and tourism, information and communication - and transport and construction.
Viet Nam and the EU will strengthen dialogue and collaboration at regional and international forums, especially the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting, as well as within the framework of ASEAN-EU co-operation.
Viet Nam hailed the union for its contribution to the building of the ASEAN Community, and its engagement in sub-regional initiatives. These included its commitment to an active and constructive role in the evolving regional architecture with ASEAN as the core of East Asia, Minh said.
He added that as the co-ordinator for ASEAN-EU relations for the 2012-2015 period, Viet Nam would try its best to boost the effective and practical development of bilateral ties. — VNS