Transport Minister Dinh La Thang and his Singaporean counterpart Lui Tuck Yew have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the transport sector.

During their working session in Singapore on February 11, the two ministers were also unanimous in speeding up negotiations for the early signing of new agreements that will replace the Air Transport Agreement and Maritime Transport Agreement signed between the two governments in 1992.

The Singaporean side agreed to continue assisting Vietnam in training human resources in this field as well as share its experience in making plans on urban transport development and management, and road traffic safety.

Both host and guest noted with pleasure the development of air transport between the two nations, with 1.7 million of passengers recorded in 2013, up 1.7 percent against the previous year.

They expressed their belief that the figure will rise this year following the recovery of the world economy, contributing to fostering the economic, investment, trade, culture and tourism cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore .

Thang suggested Singapore help VietJetAir open a direct route to Singapore this year. Meanwhile, Lui affirmed his country’s agencies will provide the best conditions for the airline to realise the plan.

The Vietnamese minister is visiting Singapore to attend the ASEAN-EU Aviation Summit on February 11-12 and the Singapore Aviation Exhibition from February 11-16.

On the sidelines of the events, Minister Thang and Vice President of European Commission Siim Kallas discussed the possibility of transport cooperation between ASEAN and the EU in general, and Vietnam and the EU in particular.

According to Thang, the EU, the biggest exporter to ASEAN and the second largest trade partner of the bloc with around 200 billion USD made in annual two-way trade and ASEAN with a 600-million population boast potential of trade promotion and aviation partnership.

On the Vietnam - EU relations, Thang said the EU has in the past spent much on Vietnam ’s key goods like footwear, garment, seafood, wooden furniture, electronics and consumer goods. For this reason, the Vietnamese Government and the Ministry of Transport always pay attention to transport and aviation connections with the bloc.

On the basis of the Vietnam – EU air transport agreement signed in 2010, Vietnam signed a number of bilateral aviation deals with EU member countries like the UK , the Czech Republic , Italy and Iceland .

The country is negotiating and completing procedures to sign air pacts with other EU members like Finland , Spain and Switzerland , Thang said.

Kallas, for his part, said Vietnam , with a 90 million population, is really a big aviation market.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines is running four direct flights between Vietnam and EU member nations. It has also partnered with Air Francs, Czech Airlines and Alitalia.

It is effectively operating nearly 60 Airbus planes. Additional 14 A350 planes will be put into use between 2015 and 2019.

On February 11, Thang attended the signing of a contract to buy and charter 100 planes worth 9.1 billion USD between VietJetAir and Airbus. He later toured some stalls at the Singapore airshow.-VNA