PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal Teresa Ribeiro (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested that Vietnam and Portugal continue promoting their traditional relationship that started 500 years ago since the first Portuguese arrived in Vietnam.

He gave a reception for Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal Teresa Ribeiro in Hanoi on November 23.

The PM expressed his hope that the two sides will exchange their business delegations to explore each other’s investment cooperation opportunities.

He also called on Portugal to push the European Union to sign and ratify the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to facilitate the economic-trade relations between the two countries.

Vietnam – Portugal trade exchange stood at 350 million USD in 2016, the PM said, noting that the figure is below the two countries’ potential.

For her part, the Portuguese Secretary said on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries and 500 years of first Portuguese arrival in Vietnam, the two sides have signed a number of agreements and continue realising these documents, with focus on economic and trade relations.

The Portuguese side has discussed with Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment about measures to promote economic cooperation, she said, affirming that Portuguese firms will be interested in Vietnam, particularly in tourism and building hotels, renewable energy, and water management.

She expressed her belief that the EVFTA will be signed in 2018, opening up a new chapter for Vietnam – Portugal relationship.-VNA