09:33 | 21/08/2014 Cooperation
(VEN) - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton said that her visit to Vietnam from August 11-12 would underline the good relations between the EU and Vietnam and the EU’s desire to tighten its ties with Vietnam.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung receives High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton
Efforts to accelerate the pace of EU-Vietnam FTA negotiations
At the press conference held after the meeting with Catherine Ashton, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that the two parties were satisfied with the development of the relations between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) and between Vietnam and EU member countries in most areas, particularly economics and trade and development cooperation.
In terms of trade, investment and development assistance, the EU currently is Vietnam’s leading partner. Two-way trade reached US$33.7 billion in 2013, an increase of 16 percent from 2012, and US$17.5 billion in the first half of this year, an increase of almost 13 percent from a year ago.
Statistics showed that 23 of all 28 EU member countries had registered almost US$18.4 billion in investment capital in Vietnam by this June, contributing to creating a number of high-tech industries and products.
Catherine Ashton said that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which was under negotiation would contribute to boosting the growing economic relations between the two parties. This is because the agreement would increase cooperative opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises including accessing the EU market which currently offers preferences for Vietnamese exports.
Catherine Ashton also said that the EU was trying to accelerate the pace of adoption of the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) and negations on the EVFTA. The visit to Vietnam by European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso this August is expected to promote the progress of EVFTA negotiations to conclude the agreement by the end of this year. Catherine Ashton said the two parties would work hard to make sure that Vietnam would meet all requirements in order for the EU to quickly provide its Market Economy Status (MES) for Vietnam.
The EU increases 30 percent of its grant aid for Vietnam
On her visit to Vietnam Catherine Ashton announced that the EU had decided to increase its grant aid for Vietnam for the next six years by 30 percent against the period from 2007-2013. The decision was made in the context that the EU was facing difficulties showing that the EU was proud to cooperate with Vietnam and that it expected to accompany with the country on the development way.
On behalf of the Vietnamese government, Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of the support from the EU and its member countries during the process of socioeconomic development and international integration in Vietnam. He also thanked the EC for its commitment to increasing its grant aid for Vietnam by 30 percent to 400 million euro during the 2014-2020 period.
Regarding cooperative directions for the near future, Pham Binh Minh said that the two parties agreed to continue increasing mutual visits, high-ranking delegation meetings, counseling and association at regional and international forums. In addition, both Vietnam and the EU would provide better conditions for the business community to invest and do long-term business in both markets. /.
At the meeting with Catherine Ashton, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that her visit would provide an important engine for boosting bilateral relations and that Vietnam always respected the relations with the EU and its member countries and wanted to get together with the EU to strengthen bilateral ties in a more practical and effective manner.
By Hoa Le