The European Council On May 31 approved a decision to allow the European Commission (EC) to start negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Vietnam.

A press release issued on the same day from the European Council said Vietnam will become the third ASEAN country to negotiate a FTA with the European Union (EU).

Rounds of negotiations are expected to take place fairly soon as the EU has already held talks FTA with Singapore and Malaysia .

In 2007, the European Council agreed to start FTA talks on a regional basis with ASEAN but they broke down in 2009.

In December of 2009, it decided to pursue FTA negotiations with ASEAN member countries in a bilateral format while preserving the strategic objective of a region-to-region FTA between the EU and ASEAN.-VNA