The eighth session of the Vietnam-EU Joint Commission took place in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 10, discussing a new period in bilateral ties.

In a joint press release, the two sides pledged to fulfil necessary measures as soon as possible to sign a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).

At the session, the EU side reaffirmed its commitment to support Vietnam’s socio-economic development plan as well as its reform process.

The two sides also discussed ways to eradicate trade and investment barriers and explored possibilities for the start of negotiations on a mutually beneficial and comprehensive free trade agreement.

The EU encouraged Vietnam to continue liberalising its economy amid an unstable global economic situation.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of anti-protectionism and implementing their pledge to the World Trade Organisation.

Vietnam and the EU reviewed progress reached within the framework of a cooperative sub-committee of the commission on institutional construction, administrative reform, state management and human rights issues. They emphasised the significance of the dialogue on human rights between Vietnam and the EU as an important cooperative channel.

Both sides agreed to promote cooperation in other fields, including security, nuclear power, chemistry, biology, infectious diseases, climate change and postgraduate education.

They also recognised the results of the discussion of the sub-committee on scientific and technological cooperation and agreed to hold the next meeting of the sub-committee in November.

The two sides discussed regional and international issues and the EU affirmed its willingness to closely cooperate with Vietnam to foster cooperation between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Vietnam-EU Joint Commission organises biannual sessions to prepare high-level discussions within the framework of a cooperative agreement between the European Commission (EC) and Vietnam that was signed on July 17, 1995.

This was the first time the commission met since the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement was initialled in October, 2010./.