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MOSCOW, June 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Vietnam hopes to sign a agreement on free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) by the end of this year, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Fam Suan Shon told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.
“Negotiations on the establishment of a free trade zone are in full swing, and there are grounds to hope they will be successfully finished by the end of this year with the signing of the agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union,” he said. “Vietnam attaches greater significance to strengthening relations with Russia, which has always been its reliable partner in all spheres of life.”
The Vietnamese ambassador expressed satisfaction with the level of trade between the two countries. “Last year, trade turnover between our countries reached $4 million, or twice as much as in 2011,” he said. “This figure will augment to $5-7 billion in a span of two years to ultimately reach $10 billion by 2020. Taking into account the great number of cooperation projects, this goal seems to be well attainable.”
Among the most promising areas of bilateral trade, he mentioned energy and military technical cooperation. Projects in these areas, in his words, included the construction of Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant, expansion of an oil refinery in central Vietnam, and purchases of military hardware, including submarines, jets, and weapons needed “to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity of Vietnam and to preserve peace, security and stability in the region.”
“Our countries maintain dynamically developing relations in the areas of education, culture and tourism,” Fam Suan Shon went on to say. “As many as 52,000 Vietnamese students and post-graduates received education in the former Soviet Union. Now, more than 7,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Russian universities. So, Russia is one of the leading centers for training Vietnamese specialists.”
Touching on the situation in the tourism sphere, the Vietnamese diplomat noted that the tourist flows from Russia had nearly tripled in the past three years to reach 300,000 in 2013.