President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy met with representatives of more than 100 European and Vietnamese businesses in Ho Chi Minh City on November 2, saying that there are rooms for Vietnam and the European Union (EU) to further their cooperation.

Rompuy said the relationship between the two sides has been developing in both depth and width, cemented by a bilateral cooperation agreement. They have also been negotiating for a free trade agreement (FTA).

He noted that two-way trade increased by 20 percent this year, adding that the two sides have also broadened their cooperation in politics and security.

The EU is now the second largest importer of Vietnam . The European Investment Bank has signed an aid agreement worth up to 150 million EUR for environment projects in Vietnam .

During the meeting, which took place before Rompuy concluded his Vietnam visit, he suggested that Vietnam should improve its institutions and strive for a more sustainable and attractive economy in order to lure more investors, especially from the EU.

The country should improve its legal framework and pursue more stable directions while trying to deal with corruption, added Rompuy.

Regarding the FTA, the European Council President emphasised that it will pave the way for Vietnamese products to reach 500 million European consumers.

At the same time, the FTA will give the EU a legal basis for their sustainable investment commitment in the ASEAN, he said, adding that the agreement will enable Vietnam to get access to a reliable finance and technology source from the Europe, which can help the country progress with sustainable development.-VNA