Vietnam proposes accelerating FTA talks with EU

(VOV) - Vietnam has asked the European Union to step up and conclude free trade agreement (EVFTA) negotiations ahead of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held in Belgium this October.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son made the proposal after meetings with representatives of a number of European bodies including the European Council, European Commission, European Parliament, and European External Action Service.

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Deputy FM Nguyen Thanh Son and Belgian Minister Jean Pascal Labille exchanged views on bilateral relations in Brussels (Photo:VNA)

He also met with Belgian Minister of Public Enterprises and Development Cooperation Jean Pascal Labille, and Belgian Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dirk Achten during his working visit from June 1-4.

Son proposed that the EU and its member states soon ratify the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU, continue granting its generalised system of preferences (GSP) to Vietnam, and facilitating Vietnamese commodities in the EU market.

He took the occasion voicing the Vietnamese government’s commitment to create favourable conditions and take every necessary measure to ensure safety, security, life and property, as well as legitimate interests of foreign businesses and individuals, including those from Europe operating in the country.

He encouraged the business communities of the two sides to take advantage of opportunities from the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) as soon as they are signed in the coming time.

The diplomat also briefed his hosts on recent tensions in the East Sea after China illegally placed its floating oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive and continental shelf.

China’s vessels, including military ships and frigates, even intimidated and rammed Vietnamese boats, injuring sailors and damaging their property.

China’s move is a serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

It seriously threatens stability, safety, security and freedom of navigation in the region and the world at large, affecting the global economic recovery.

Son asked EU, Belgian officials, scholars, and businesses to raise their voice calling on China to abide by international law, withdraw the rig and escort vessels, from Vietnam’s territorial waters, and work with Vietnam to settle the case peacefully.