Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has called on Sweden to further support Vietnam in fostering its comprehensive cooperation with the European Union (EU) as well as negotiating the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement.

At a March 19 meeting with Swedish Secretary of Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage in Hanoi, the Deputy PM expressed his gratitude to the Swedish Parliament for its approval of the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Welcoming Belfrage as the chair of the Hanoi conference of Swedish ambassadors in Asia, he described the event as a meaningful activity to mark the 45 th anniversary of Vietnam-Sweden diplomatic ties.

He also thanked the Swedish government and people for their valuable support to Vietnam during its past struggle for national independence and reunification as well as the present cause of national construction and development.

The host noted with pleasure the fruitful development in the two countries’ cooperation over past years, citing two-way trade in 2013 that exceeded 1 billion USD, up 24 percent against the previous year.

Sweden’s investment in Vietnam has been fruitful, he said, noting that more than 60 Swedish businesses are operating in the country, including several big names.

The official praised the Swedish government’s policy of encouraging their enterprises to operate in Vietnam, especially in areas where there is local demand.

For his part, Belfrage thanked the Vietnamese government for helping Sweden organise the conference of Swedish ambassadors in Asia.

He expressed his belief that the two countries will continue strengthening their comprehensive cooperation in the time ahead.-VNA