Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang and Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Stale Torstein Risa, officially launched negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, in Hanoi on July 3.

The EFTA comprises of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

At the launching ceremony, Minister Hoang signed a memorandum of understanding on EFTA’s recognition of Vietnam as a market economy.

According to Minister Hoang, the fact that EFTA and 30 other countries in the world have recognised Vietnam as a market economy showed the international community’s recognition of the Southeast Asian country’s efforts to renovate its economy and integrate it into the international economy.

The MoU is proof that Vietnam and EFTA have sufficient basis to boost economic and trade ties, of which the signing of an FTA between them is one of the most effective measures, Hoang added.

The FTA will be comprehensive and fully compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation and include commodity trading, service trading, investment and other fields of mutual concern.

The document is expected to bring practical benefits to both Vietnam and EFTA countries, including those of the people and business circles.-VNA