(VOVworld)- The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, began an official visit to Vietnam today/Wednesday at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang. During their talks held after the welcoming ceremony, both leaders highlighted the rapid development of bilateral ties in economics, trade, politics, and development cooperation in recent years. Presidents Sang and Rompuy agreed to step up the exchange of high-ranking officials, and encourage and facilitate Vietnamese and EU investors to do business in both markets. The main focus of which is in industry, infrastructure, transportation, energy, finance, health care, tourism and services. The EU pledged to provide the necessary technical assistance and promote more talks so that both can complete and sign the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement and recognize Vietnam as having market economy status. Vietnam proposed that the EU maintains the full Generalize System of Preferences for Vietnam until 2015 and prioritizes mutual recognition. Both also agreed to cooperate further to implement ODA programs during the 2011-2013 period and prioritize cooperation in the 2014-2020 period. This will be based on Vietnam’s socio economic development strategy until 2020 which focuses on poverty reduction, sustainable development, environmental protection and climate change.
They also agreed to step up talks and cooperation at regional and international forums, especially at the UN and the ASEM as well as within the framework of ASEAN-EU cooperation. They supported efforts to ensure that Southeast Asia is a region of peace, stability, cooperation and friendship and emphasized the need to ensure maritime security, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea. They also agreed to solve disputes by peaceful means and in line with international laws, the Declaration on the Conducts of Parties in the East Sea and soon the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea. On the occasion, they signed an agreement on climate change in 2012 worth 150 million euros funded by the European Investment bank and released a statement on a financial agreement for an EU Multilateral Trade Project.
After their talks, both leaders had a media briefing. President Truong Tan Sang said: “The EU is one of Vietnam’s leading trade partners, investors and donors, while Vietnam is the 5th largest trade partners of the EU. Both sides signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in June 2012 and started the first round of negotiations on bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in October 2012. These are concrete and important steps to build an equal partnership and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam, the EU and its member countries ”
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy expressed his satisfaction of the talks, emphasizing the importance of cooperation with Vietnam in the cooperative strategy between Europe and Asia. He said Vietnam is an important partner of the EU in Asia and ASEAN, a country with rapid socio-economic development and a young and educated population.