Vietnam and the European Union (EU) have agreed to strive to conclude their free trade pact negotiations by October this year, while stepping up comprehensive cooperation between the two sides.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and visiting President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Durão Barroso in Hanoi on Monday.
The two leaders discussed measures to intensify bilateral cooperation in politics, security, economy, science, technology, education, justice, and migration.
PM Dung highly appreciated Barroso’s visit as it takes place when the two sides are speeding up the ratification of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) and the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (EVFTA).
He thanked EC and EU member countries for their support for Vietnam’s socio-economic development and international integration.
The Vietnamese government leader suggested the EU ratify the PCA soon, take into account differences in the development level between Vietnam and EU members while negotiating the EVFTA, and recognize Vietnam as a full market economy early.
Vietnam supports the EU’s enhanced engagement in ASEAN-led regional architecture and will work harder toward the building of a strategic partnership between ASEAN and the European bloc.
President Barroso expressed his belief that the Southeast Asian country will continue to be an attractive destination for foreign investors, including those from EU member countries.
The EC president voiced his pleasure at encouraging progress in the Vietnam-EU relations, particularly in economy, trade, and development cooperation.
The guest also said he hopes for ASEAN-EU rapport to be intensified and pledged support for ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional security architecture.
The two leaders agreed that they will facilitate business investment in Vietnam and the EU and strive to conclude EVFTA negotiations by this October while strengthening all-round ties, especially in education-training, science-technology, natural resources and the environment, agriculture and rural development, and culture-tourism.
Regarding the East Vietnam Sea, PM Dung and President Barroso underscored the need to maintain peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation in the area.
President Barroso affirmed the EU’s support for the resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with the UN Charter, international law, and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The EU calls on all parties to avoid unilateral actions that escalate tensions and threaten peace, stability, and maritime security and safety in the region, the EC leader said, adding that they should abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC) with eyes on the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct for the sea (COC).