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Jan 24, 2014 / 13:05

Deputy PM meets EU, Swiss officials

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on January 23 met EU and Swiss senior officials on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos, Switzerland.

Meeting with Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, Deputy PM Minh affirmed Vietnam’s recognition of importance to developing relations with Switzerland- an important partner of Vietnam in Europe.

He suggested Switzerland maintain its ODA funding for Vietnam and intensify investments in areas of Swiss strengths such as hi-technology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, finance-banking and insurance.

Minister Ammann asked Vietnam to consider some proposals made by the Swiss business delegation during its trip to the country in last October.

Both sides compared notes on negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and agreed to accelerate the early conclusion of negotiations before the end of 2014.

Mr Minh greatly valued Vietnam-EU relations at his meeting with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.

They were committed to speed up the the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) negotiation process.

Deputy PM Minh called on the EU to boost the approval of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and recognize Vietnam’s market economy status no later than the time when the EVFTA concludes.

The two sides consented to make thorough preparations for the EU-ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting.

As a coordinator for ASEAN-EU relations, Vietnam will draft a joint statement of the meeting.

The EU senior official said the Union has increasingly placed importance on its relations with ASEAN as well as with Vietnam demonstrated by FTA negotiation efforts.