Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom sought to boost Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations during their working session in Kuala Lumpur on April 25.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 26th ASEAN Summit in Malaysia.

They touched upon the final package of the negotiations involving market opening alongside management rules and regulations concerning intellectual property rights.

Hoang urged the EU to create favourable conditions for Vietnam’s key export products, for example, textile and garment, footwear, farming goods and seafood, to enter its markets. He also committed to opening doors for European enterprises in Vietnam.

During his visit the Europe in October last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with President of the European Commission (EC) Manuel Barroso to identify ways for the settlement of unsolved issues in a bid to soon conclude the FTA.

Since then, Vietnam and the EU have achieved significant progress in the FTA negotiations on several key matters.

The EU is one of Vietnam’s largest trade partners with two-way trade hitting 36.8 billion USD last year, a rise of 9 percent from 2013. Vietnam shipped to the partner 28 billion USD worth of commodities while its import reached 9 billion USD.

Some 25 out of the 28 European countries have invested in Vietnam by the end of 2014 with a total registered investment of 37.8 billion USD pouring in 2,100 projects, mainly in the fields of industry, construction and services.

The same day, the Vietnamese Minister, on behalf of ASEAN, also discussed the ASEAN-EU trade and investment work programme for 2015-2016 with the European Commissioner to map out orientations for closer ASEAN-EU cooperation.-VNA