Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on March 17 received Trade Commissioner of the European Union Karel De Gucht, who is in Hanoi for the seventh round of talks on the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement (FTA).

PM Dung expressed his hope that the talks, slated for March 17-21, will be productive so that the agreement can be completed by October, as wished by both sides.

He emphasised that the early completion of the FTA will bring visible benefits for both sides, pledging that Vietnam is doing its best to achieve that goal.

In addition, the PM suggested the EU quickly recognise Vietnam as a full market economy.

De Gucht said he was delighted with the outcomes of the past FTA talks and stated that the EU is working closely with Vietnam to finish the negations fruitfully and swiftly.

The EU is the second largest trade partner and the biggest export market of Vietnam.

As of November 2013, two-way trade between the two sides hit over 30 billion USD, 17.35 percent higher than the figure recorded corresponding period in 2012. Vietnam’s key export lines include footwear, garments, coffee, wood products and seafood.

EU businesses have largely been involved in the manufacturing, construction and services sectors in Vietnam.-VNA