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EU, VN aim to conclude free trade negotiations

Update: August, 26/2014 - 08:58
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso review the guards of honour of Viet Nam People's Army. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and the European Union would strive to end negotiations for the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) before October.

The agreement, which is considered a milestone in EU-Viet Nam relations, was reached between the two sides during talks held yesterday between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and visiting President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

The two discussed measures to enhance co-operation between Viet Nam and the EU in various fields, particularly in economy, politics, security, science and technology and education.

They agreed to increase exchanges of delegations, support each other at regional and international forums, create favourable conditions for businesses in each other's markets.

They also agreed to increase co-operation in a wide range of areas, particularly those where the EU is strong, such as education and training, natural resources and environment, agriculture and rural development, transport and construction.

PM Dung proposed measures to help boost trade and economic relations, such as the EU soon ratifying the PCA and considering the development gap between Viet Nam and other EU member countries in EVFTA negotiations.

He thanked the EC and EU member countries in supporting Viet Nam's socio-economic development and international integration.

The EC President said he believed Viet Nam would promote economic reform and continued to be an attractive destination for investors, including investors and businesses from EU countries.

The two sides also stressed the need to maintain peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the East Sea.

Later the same day, the EC President Barroso met Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Barroso said he appreciated Viet Nam's positive results in mitigating the global economic crisis's impacts, curbing inflation, keeping macro-economy stability and ensuring social security.

He said the EC attached great importance to developing the friendship and co-operation with Viet Nam and said the EU was working with Vietnamese ministries and agencies to ratify the EU-Viet Nam Partnership and Co-operation Agreement and complete negotiations for the EVFTA.

Party leader Trong said he hoped the bloc would assist Viet Nam in developing human resources and management policies.

Yesterday, EC President Barroso was received by President Truong Tan Sang who said Viet Nam saw the role of the EU as highly important, predicting that co-operation between the two sides would increase.

He proposed Barroso sign the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible.

Trade expansion

Yesterday, Viet Nam and the EU released a joint press statement on the occasion of the EC President Barroso's visit to Viet Nam, affirming the deepening of Viet Nam-EU economic ties and rapid development of two-way trade and investment.

The two sides welcomed the continued expansion of bilateral trade and the EU's position as Viet Nam's largest export market and second-largest trade partner. The leaders noted that the EU was also one of the largest foreign investors in Viet Nam with a total of EUR495 million in 2013.

The two sides welcomed progress in negotiations towards a Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement and expressed the wish to conclude the negotiations swiftly. They emphasised that a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would offer new business opportunities for economic operators, enhance inflow of Foreign Direct Investment and promote growth and employment.

Both sides agreed to continue encouraging and facilitating Vietnamese and European businesses to step up investment and establish partnerships, particularly in prioritised areas including industry, infrastructure, transportation, energy, finance, services, health, space applications and tourism.

The two sides stressed the importance of ASEAN – EU co-operation to the region and welcomed the achievements of both sides over the course of their relationship.

Both sides highly valued the exchanges and co-operation between Viet Nam and the EU at multilateral fora and international organisations and agreed to continue co-ordinating and supporting each other on issues of mutual interest.

The two leaders discussed the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea/East Sea and agreed that territorial disputes should be settled peacefully in the spirit of co-operation and respect of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982). — VNS

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