Chairman of National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam will pay official visits to Russia this year.

The information was unveiled by Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son at an annual New Year meeting with Russian businesspeople and pressmen in Moscow on February 28.

The event also saw the participation of representatives from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Moscow authorities.

Ambassador Son also reported that Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will start talks on possibilities to establish a four-party free trade area by the end of this March.

Looking back Vietnam-Russia relations, he spoke of the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership, which was formed following Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s official visit to Russia in 2012.

He also talked about the official Vietnam visits of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko.

The two countries’ two-way trade achieved a record value of over 3.6 billion USD in 2012 and is expected to hit 7 billion USD by 2015. Nearly 200,000 Russians went to Vietnam for vacation in 2012.

At the meeting, representatives of Russian businesses stressed the importance of fostering traditional ties, cooperation and comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and Vietnam.

Some delivered proposals to intensify the two countries’ relations, including expanding goods exchange modes, increasing hi-tech product trade, cooperating in exporting Vietnam’s rice and other farm produce to a third country, boosting linkages between small and medium-sized enterprises and personnel training.-VNA