Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs a meeting to evaluate cooperation with the EU in Hanoi on April 14. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc laid stress on the significance of bolstering cooperation with the European Union (EU), a leading strategic partner of Vietnam in economy, trade and investment while chairing a meeting to evaluate bilateral collaboration in the past time in Hanoi on April 14.

Two-way trade has seen fruitful results, with the EU being the second largest importer of Vietnam and the destination for 18 percent of Vietnamese exports, he said, noting that the union was the third biggest trade partner of Vietnam with two-way trade reaching some 50 billion USD in 2017.

Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus of 31.8 billion USD with the EU, he added.

He also pointed out some factors that hinder two-way trade like the “yellow card” issued by the European Commission for Vietnamese seafood. The local business climate should be improved while administrative procedures need to be streamlined to facilitate trade and investment between Vietnam and the EU, he added.

At the meeting, the Government leader ordered relevant ministries to closely work with the EU’s bodies to complete the signing and ratification of the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement (EVFTA) at the end of 2018, creating a breakthrough for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

The EVFTA, a new-generation free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU’s 28 member states, is a comprehensive and high-quality trade pact that balances benefits for both Vietnam and the EU as well as is in line with regulations of the World Trade Organisation.

Leaders of Vietnam and the EU finished negotiations for the deal in 2015.-VNA