Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has pushed for the signing of the Vietnam – European Union free trade agreement (FTA) in mid-2015, describing it as a key milestone to lift bilateral ties.

The leader made the request while meeting Chairman of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee Bernd Lange in Hanoi on April 7.

Dung hailed Lange’s visit on the occasion of the 25 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the final stage of the FTA negotiations. The European Parliament plays a key role in the FTA adoption, signing and enforcement monitoring.

The EU is one of the leading partners of Vietnam, Dung told his guest, suggesting the bloc soon approves the Vietnam –EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and recognises Vietnam as a full market economy.

The host appealed for the EU’s flexible approach to considering Vietnam’s legitimate interests in agro-fisheries, leather, footwear and garments in FTA negotiations.

According to him, the FTA would not only boost bilateral economic ties but also help Vietnam fine-tune its market economy regulations, making it easier to attract domestic and international investment inflows.

Vietnam welcomes EU investors and views the successes of foreign investors as its own, he affirmed.

Lange said the European Parliament will take note of Vietnam’s proposals and believed that the FTA would be signed in the near future since the comprehensive deal offers wide-ranging benefits to both sides.

He also spoke highly of Vietnam’s commitments to and specific roadmap for FTA talks and enforcement.-VNA