President Tran Dai Quang (R) meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within the 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Peru (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – President Tran Dai Quang has granted an interview to press agencies of Russia and Belarus on the occasion of his upcoming official tour to the two countries, during which he stressed that potential to develop cooperation between Vietnam and the two countries has yet to be tapped fully.

Regarding the Vietnam-Belarus relations, he said the time-honoured friendship between the two countries, the political trust and determination of their leaders, and the recent positive outcomes of bilateral cooperation provide a firm foundation for the bilateral relations to reach a new height and meet interests of both peoples.

According to the President, important economic-trade agreements that already took effect, such as the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Vietnam-Belarus protocol supporting production of engine-powered vehicles in Vietnam, will create a breakthrough in the two sides’ economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Assessing achievements in the Vietnam-Russia relations, the Vietnamese State leader emphasised that after the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1950, the two countries became strategic partners in 2001 and upgraded their relation to comprehensive strategic partnership in July 2012.

Throughout the past 65 years, bilateral political ties have been strengthened continuously through the regular exchange of all-level delegations and the mechanisms of consultation and strategic dialogue.

Economic and trade ties have developed rapidly, while cooperation in defence security, science and technology, education and training, culture and tourism have been intensified.

Cultural exchange activities have been stepped up as well, helping strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples, he added.

To develop the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the coming time, President Quang said the two countries should continue to enhance political trust and push ahead with cooperation in the key fields of trade, energy, defense-security, education-training, and science-technology, as well as other arenas such as high technology and new materials.

The President highly valued the EAEU-Vietnam free trade agreement (FTA) and expressed his belief that the effective implementation of this pact will create new momentum to increase the bilateral trade to 10 billion USD by 2020.

He noted that the FTA is strategically important as it creates a legal framework and favourable conditions to develop Vietnam’s trade and economic cooperation with the EAEU in general and each member nation in particular.

This is the first agreement that the EAEU has signed with an extra-bloc country and the first of its kind that Vietnam has struck with a big promising common market comprising of five countries, namely Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.2 trillion USD and 183-strong population, he said.

After the agreement takes effect, trade between Vietnam and Russia is expected to increase by 18-20 percent per year on average to reach 10-12 billion USD in 2020, he added.

The FTA also offers brilliant opportunities for Vietnam and Belarus to develop trade and economic relations as it will abolish 90 percent of tax lines, equivalent to 90 percent of bilateral trade turnover.

President Tran Dai Quang will pay official visits to Belarus and Russia from June 26 to July 1.-VNA