The signing of the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in June is a milestone in the two parties’ relations.

Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam, Ambassador Franz Jessen made the remark at a conference on the PCA, held in Hanoi on Oct. 23.

The new PCA demonstrates EU’s commitment to forging an upgraded, broader and more mature partnership with Vietnam, a partner willing to take on increasing responsibilities on the world arena, and an active and central factor in ASEAN, he added.

The official also expressed his hope that the agreement will soon be supplemented by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, the first round of negotiations of which was recently held in Hanoi.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said the Vietnam-EU relations have seen positive development and the union has become one of Vietnam’s leading partners.

The PCA has helped expand fields of cooperation that Vietnam has demand and EU has strength, including development cooperation, economics, trade, education-training, science-technology, agriculture, health care and tourism, as well as in the climate change adaptation and the fight against terrorism, he said.

According to delegates, to implement the PCA, the two sides have to build action plans in all fields.

The two parties should be fully aware of their advantages and disadvantages in order to take feasible measures to uphold their strength and overcome difficulties.

EU is now one of Vietnam’s leading trade partners with an average two-way trade growth of between 15-20 percent per year.

The trade jumped from 1.5 billion USD in 1995 to over 24 billion USD in 2011.

The EU is Vietnam’s largest donor, with total ODA committed topping 11 billion USD in the 1996-2011 period.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is one of EU’s top trade-investment partners among ASEAN countries. Vietnamese enterprises have started their projects in many EU member states.-VNA