Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board Viktor Borisovich Khristenko, on March 28, officially launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The announcement was made following a meeting between PM Dung and Khristenko in Hanoi during the latter’s working visit to Vietnam .

Dung voiced pleasure at the official starting of FTA talks between two sides, affirming that Vietnam will do its utmost to successfully complete the negotiations with member states of the customs union, on the ground of mutual benefits and fairness.

Dung and Khristenko agreed that the FTA would open up opportunities for cooperation in economy, trade and investment between the two sides.

Later the same day, the two chief negotiators, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and Trade Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission Andrey Slepnev, signed a joint notice on the first working session between the two sides.

During this session, the two sides will discuss in details about the scope and areas covered by the FTA, and the structure and methods of negotiations.

The two sides agreed that the agreement will be in line with the regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while taking due consideration of each nation’s sensitive areas and the development gap between them.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan stood at 2.7 billion USD in 2012.

The FTA is expected to help the two sides achieve its goal of raising bilateral trade turnover to 10 billion USD before 2020 as set by their leaders. It will also contribute to boosting the politic, economic, trade and investment relations between the four countries.-VNA