Ambassador highlights successful Viet Nam-EU relations
Brussels (VNA) - Head of the Vietnamese Mission to the European Union Phan Thuy Thanh has described 2004 as a successful year for Viet Nam-EU relations.
The diplomat, who is also Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium, talked about the cooperation between Viet Nam and the EU in general and Belgium in particular, in an interview granted to a Brussel-based correspondent from Viet Nam News Agency ahead an European tour by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An from Mar. 16-19.
Ambassador Thanh stressed that Viet Nam highly appreciates the EU's assistance to Viet Nam's economic development and integration as well as its efforts to shift to a market economy. She pointed to the growth rate of between 5-6 percent of two-way trade, which accounts for one-third of Viet Nam's foreign commerce.
The EU, on its part, recognised Viet Nam's economic achievements and successes in poverty reduction, particularly its political stability, the Ambassador said, adding that the EU provides more than 400 million Euro in official development assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam each year, making up 20 percent of the total ODA flow into Viet Nam annually.
Thanh said 2004 was a year of many successes in the Viet Nam-EU relations, one of which was the conclusion of bilateral negotiations on Viet Nam's entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), adding that the EU is one of the first major partners to support Viet Nam's membership in this global trade body. She also mentioned the EU's elimination of the quota system on Viet Nam's textile and garment products since 2005, and that the EU is also considered granting Viet Nam the Most Favoured Nation status.
The Ambassador noted that the upcoming visit by NA Chairman Nguyen Van An will provide an opportunity for the two sides to boost direct contacts and dialogue at high level. Law makers of both sides will have a chance to discuss issues of mutual concerns for better mutual understanding, and enhanced bilateral cooperation in many areas, she said.
Regarding the relations between Viet Nam and Belgium, Ambassador Thanh said bilateral cooperation has been developing along the result-based and intensive direction ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973. The increasingly close bilateral relations are manifested in visits of high-level delegations between the two countries, Thanh said, citing a visit by Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in Mar. 2004, and earlier visits by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, Deputy PM Vu Khoan, Defence Minister Pham Van Tra and Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen. Viet Nam also welcomed Belgian Crown Prince Philippe, Minister of Development and Cooperationi Armand De Decker and Minister of Defence Andre Flahaut in 2003 and 2004.
According to the Ambassador, Viet Nam-Belgium trade has been growing rapidly in the recent past, currently standing at 600 million Euros. Viet Nam also sees fine and fruitful economic, educational and cultural cooperation with Belgium's localities and organisations. Thanh said the Belgian side highly rated Viet Nam's rapid and stable economic growth and effective use of Belgium's ODA.
Discussing parliamentary relations between the two countries, Ambassador Thanh said their friendly ties have deepened with time. As early as Feb. 1995, the then NA Chairman Nong Duc Manh paid an official visit to Belgium, followed by another visit by NA Vice Chairman Truong Quang Duoc in Sep. 2003, and in 2004 alone, many delegations from the Vietnamese NA visited Belgium. Thanh said on those occasions, Viet Nam and Belgium discussed the work of each country's legislature and measures to boost their cooperation./.
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