Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has announced that Russia and Vietnam are likely to sign an agreement on the establishment of a free trade area (FTA) next year.

Deputy PM Shuvalov, who has just paid an official visit to Vietnam, made the statement on the Russia 24 TV channel on Nov. 23.

He said Russian and Vietnamese officials have begun to compile the FTA paperwork to be presented to the two governments by the end of this year.

The Deputy PM affirmed that Russia and Vietnam are likely to sign the FTA in mid-2012 when Russia assumes the Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC).

Three countries of the customs alliance – Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and ASEAN members may implement a FTA in the middle of next year, he said./.