The European Union (EU) will give top priority to boosting economic and trade relations with Vietnam , especially speeding up negotiations on its Free Trade Area (FTA) with the country.

The statement was made by Ambassador Franz Jessen, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam , in Hanoi on December 12.

“FTA brings benefits to not only Vietnam but also the EU, so we should be more ambitious in our relationship. FTA is not just for the next year or following year, but for many years to come,” he said.

The establishment of a FTA is expected to facilitate economic and trade activities, especially imports and exports, between the EU and Vietnam , he added.

“The EU fully recognises that VN is a developing and poor country and that it is accelerating the process of becoming a developed country”, he said, adding that “We’ve been taking this into account during negotiations, that this is Vietnam ’s ambition”.

According to the newly appointed EU official, EU investors have good impressions of Vietnam and are willing to invest in the country.

To maintain a top position on the list of investment destinations for EU investors, Vietnam should create a favourable business environment for them, making them believe in their bright future in the country, he suggested.

Ambassador Franz Jessen emphasised the EU’s other priorities besides trade, including climate change, human rights and prevention of illegal migration.

The EU will continue support for Vietnam in health and poverty reduction with a pledged aid figure of 66 million EUR in 2012, he said.

At present, the EU is the third-largest trade partner of Vietnam . In the first ten months of this year, Vietnam ’s exports to the EU increased by 50 percent over the same period last year while the figure from EU was up 20 percent./.