The European Union and Vietnam are to sign a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement on June 27 in Brussels, it was announced Tuesday. The document will be signed by EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh.
"I look forward to signing a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which will help to take relations to a new level. I hope this Agreement will soon be complemented by an ambitious EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement," Ashton said in a statement.
Describing Vietnam as a dynamic economy and a central actor of the ASEAN regional grouping, Ashton said EU considers the South Asian nation to be a partner willing to take on increasing responsibilities on the world scene. She said EU has strong stakes in the success of Vietnam's reforms and stressed that the European bloc remains committed to forging an upgraded, broader and more diversified relationship with the country.
Ashton expects the agreement to allow EU forge a modern, broad-based and mutually-beneficial partnership with Vietnam. The pact will also broaden further the scope of EU- Vietnam cooperation in areas such as trade, the environment, energy, science and technology, good governance, as well as tourism, culture, migration, counter terrorism and the fight against corruption and organized crime.
"The PCA will also allow Vietnam and the EU, which share the same interest in a strong multilateral rule-based system and strong institutions of global governance, to further enhance cooperation on global and regional challenges, including climate change, terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, all issues on which Vietnam is willing to play an increasingly active role," Ashton added.
She said the 27-member European bloc is looking forward to the trade and investment principles established in the PCA being completed by a Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will also bring two-way trade and investment to new levels.
Incidentally, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Vietnamese Minister for Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang officially launched negotiations for a FTA on Tuesday, the 26th of June.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in October 1990, Vietnam-EU relations have developed very rapidly, moving from an initial focus on trade and aid to a broader, more diversified and more political partnership.
The new EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which has been concluded in October 2010, will replace a similar agreement dating back from 1995. The new PCA requires to be ratified by EU Member States and submitted to the European Parliament before it enters formally into force.
A similar PCA was concluded with the Philippines in 2010 and should be signed shortly. In November 2009, Indonesia became the first ASEAN member-nation to sign a new-generation PCA with the European Union.
by RTT Staff Writer
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