Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka (Source: VNA)

Vienna (VNA) - Vietnam always considers Austria an important and reliable partner in Europe, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka.

During a meeting with the Austrian leader on October 16 as part of his official visit to Austria, PM Phuc suggested the two countries continue to develop the bilateral relations in a more intensive, effective and comprehensive manner in the time to come.

He highlighted great potential for the two countries to promote cooperation in trade and investment, and affirmed that Vietnam is constantly improving its investment environment and strongly restructuring its national economy, thus opening up opportunities for Austrian enterprises to invest the Southeast Asian country.

PM Phuc took this occasion to thank Austria for providing preferential loans for Vietnam, which, he said, have contributed significantly to the nation’s development process.

He highlighted the importance of the support and assistance from Austria and the international community for Vietnam, saying that although Vietnam has become a middle-income country, it is still facing a range of difficulties, and especially Vietnam is one of the countries which are the hardest affected by climate change.

The Vietnamese leader highly evaluated the role played by the National Assembly of Vietnam and the Austrian National Council in strengthening the bilateral ties.

He welcomed the establishment of the Austria-South Asia/Southeast Asia Friendship Parliamentary Group to strengthen legislative ties with the region and Vietnam, expressing his belief that the relations between the two parliaments will continue developing fruitfully in the coming time.

PM Phuc suggested the Austrian National Council, the South Asia/Southeast Asia Friendship Parliamentary Group support Vietnam’s efforts to foster its comprehensive cooperation with the European Union (EU), and urge the EU to early sign and approve the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

For his part, Sobotka said PM Phuc’s visit marks a new milestone in the relationship between Vietnam and Austria.

He noted that economic and trade ties between Austria and Vietnam remain limited and fail to match up potential of both nations.

Austrian enterprises, especially those operating in the fields of manufacturing industry, electronics, renewable energy and infrastructure development, are very interested in the emerging markets like Vietnam, he said,  adding that Austria also wants to cooperate with Vietnam in the spheres of vocational training, research, and heath care.

Sobotka affirmed that the Austrian National Council will coordinate with the Austrian Government to accelerate the signing of the EVFTA.

The Austrian National Council pays due attention to the observance of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and in ensuring security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, he stressed.-VNA