Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh’s visits to Sweden and the UK, which wrapped up on April 18, have significantly stepped up Vietnam’s ties with the European countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc has said.

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in the UK on the outcomes of the visits, Deputy FM Ngoc said Deputy PM Ninh’s Sweden visit created an impetus to the bilateral cooperation in all fields, which has over recent years not grown as desired.

The Vietnamese and Swedish sides agreed to strengthen partnership in the fields needed by Vietnam, like renewable energy, telecommunication, high technology, and human resource training, he said.

As a traditional and important partner, Sweden made a two-way trade value with Vietnam worth over 1 billion USD last year, he noted.

The country had provided Vietnam with 45 billion USD in aid since 1969. Although ceasing bilateral ODA provision in 2013, it is hoped to continue supporting Vietnam via multilateral channels as well as international financial organisations.

Vietnam has proposed that Sweden recognise its market economy regulations in an early date, while speeding up negotiations for a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union, he furthered.

Sweden voiced its strong support for Vietnam’s stance of peacefully solving disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law, Ngoc said.

On the UK visit, the host country’s investors showed great interest in the Vietnamese market, the Deputy FM said.

Vietnam’s efforts in reforming its financial and banking systems and developing its securities market have been lauded by the UK side, he noted.

Since setting up their strategic partnership in 2010, the two countries’ relations have grown remarkably across the board, said Ngoc.

Two-way trade in 2013 reached more than 4.2 billion USD, including Vietnam’s exports of over 3 billion USD, the diplomat noted.

Ngoc described the success of many UK enterprises in Vietnam, such as Standard Chartered, Prudential and Rolls Royce, as the manifestation of productive economic-trade ties between the two countries.

That the UK’s HSBC and Standard Chartered were allowed to operate as the 100 percent foreign invested entities in Vietnam since 2008 reflected the country’s willing and efforts to realise its WTO commitments, he said.

The UK Trade and Investment Agency listing Vietnam as one of the 20 most potential emerging markets also creates great conditions for the two sides to foster stronger partnership in the future, Ngoc stressed.-VNA