As a strong supporter of trade liberalisation, Sweden affirmed its support for the European Union’s early recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status, the Swedish Trade Minister said on April 11.

Sweden will also speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the EU to ensure it will be completed in 2014, Minister for Trade and Nordic Cooperation of Sweden Ewa Bjorling told Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, who is in Stockholm for a four-day working visit to the northern European country from April 9.

The Deputy PM welcomed the Swedish Government for adopting a policy to encourage Swedish companies to invest in the Vietnamese market and said the Vietnamese Government will facilitate Swedish enterprises to do long-term business in Vietnam.

Both host and guest expressed their delight at the positive development of economic cooperation which has become a major pillar in the Vietnam-Sweden relationship.

Deputy PM Ninh expressed his appreciation for the support of the Swedish Government and the Minister for a number of activities marking the 45th anniversary of the Vietnam-Sweden diplomatic ties (1969-2014).

He reiterated Vietnam’s external policy of strengthening and developing relations with traditional countries in northern Europe, including Sweden.

At a meeting with Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Per Westerberg earlier the day, Deputy PM affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to strengthening and developing relations with the country's traditional friends in northern Europe, including Sweden.

He thanked the Swedish people for its support for Vietnam during the years of the anti-America resistance war, as well as the provision of official development aid (ODA) worth more than 3 billion USD over the past years.

He informed the Speaker on Vietnam’s recent socio-economic development accomplishments, positive GDP growth as well as measures to control inflation and restructure operations of the financial and banking system.

Regarding trade cooperation and FTA negotiations between Vietnam and other countries, Ninh thanked the Swedish Parliament for ratifying the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), and expressed his hope that the Swedish Parliament will speed up the FTA negotiations between Vietnam and the EU.

The Deputy PM took the occasion to extend an invitation to a high-level delegation from Sweden to visit Vietnam to attend the 132nd General Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union 132 (IPU-132) slated for March next year.

He also wished Sweden the best of success in the upcoming elections to be held in September 2014.

For his part, Per Westerberg said that Sweden supports international commercialisation which needs to strictly comply with international standards and meet proposed criteria, noting that it desires to step up trade and economic cooperation with Vietnam for the benefit of both peoples.

Sweden is paying attention to Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen its banking sector, carry out reforms, increase transparency and fight corruption, he added.

Sweden will send a senior parliamentary delegation to attend the Vietnam IPU-132, he affirmed.

Also the same day, Deputy PM Ninh had a working session with Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage.

Belfrage congratulated Vietnam on its rising regional and international status, while voicing the Swedish government’s interest in strengthening good relations with Vietnam.

Host and guest agreed to boost coordination on regional and international forums especially at the United Nations and ASEAN.

The Deputy PM affirmed Vietnam’s willingness to serve as a bridge for Sweden to develop a relationship with ASEAN members.

Belfrage affirmed Sweden’s support for the settlement of disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means and on the basis of international law.

The Deputy PM also received Swedish Volvo Bus Group representatives which is keen on the Vietnamese market.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh and his delegation are scheduled to leave Stockholm on April 12 for London for their official visit to the UK at the invitation of Government of the UK and Northern Ireland.-VNA