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Eurasian Economic Union, Vietnam at final stages of mulling free trade deal — Russia PM

April 06, 2015, 9:31 UTC+3

Vietnam’s prime minister said the treaty may be signed in the first half of 2015

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung

© Dmitry Astakhov/Russian government's press service/TASS

HANOI, April 6. /TASS/. Negotiations on free trade area between Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Vietnam entered the final stage. The only issues remaining are of industrial processing and provision of services, PM Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Vietnamese media Monday.

"I literally just talked to the Russian Economic Development Minister, and he confirmed that our negotiations with Vietnam entered the final stage. We have advanced in many positions and would like to finish the negotiations in the shortest term."

Medvedev said that the document might become the first EAEU agreement with another country. "In fact, Vietnam will gain access to the market, which includes not only the population of the Russian Federation, but also of our partners, almost 40 mln more people," the PM said.

He added that "the investment aspect, including the issues of so-called industrial processing, so that our companies could operate successfully in economic conditions of Vietnam" must also be discussed during the negotiations on free trade area. "In addition, there are still some issues related to the provision of services," Medvedev said.

"Therefore, I hope that the upcoming talks and my friendly visit to Vietnam will bring practical benefits," he concluded.

After talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, the official stressed a free trade deal between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Vietnam may be signed in the near future as the sides have agreed on the major issues.

"We have already agreed practically on all the parameters, and the drafting of the document has entered the final stage," Medvedev said.

"I repeat that the principle issues have been agreed. I hope that in the near future we will be able to reach the signing of this treaty," Medvedev added.

In his turn, Vietnam’s prime minister said the treaty may be signed in the first half of 2015.

"Exclusively high level of trust" between Russia and Vietnam

The Russian head of government praised the level of trust between Russia and Vietnam and said that it helps the two countries expand cooperation in key spheres, including oil and gas sector, nuclear energy and military-technical sphere.

Medvedev added that he looks forward to a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, where he will hold a meeting with representatives of business circles of Russia and Vietnam.

Russia and Vietnam are holding an active dialogue that has already entered its final stage on creating a free trade zone between Hanoi and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Ahead of the visit, Medvedev said that issues of industrial processing and providing services were left for discussion. "We really moved forward significantly on many positions and would want to finish the talks in the nearest future," the prime minister told Vietnamese media.

The document can become the first agreement between EUU and a separate third country. In fact, Vietnam will get access to the market of Russia and its partner-countries.

The new integration association - the EEU - started operating on January 1 this year, replacing the Eurasian Economic Community, which officially ceased to exist in October. The union includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia with Kyrgyzstan expected joining it in May. Membership is open to other states assessed as sharing the assembly's aims and principles, its founders say.

Economic cooperation with Vietnam will get a new dimension once Hanoi signs an agreement on free trade zone with the union, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko said earlier. "We expect Russian-Vietnamese trade turnover to grow to $10 billion by 2020," Prikhodko said. In 2014, the volume of trade between the two countries stood at $3.8 billion.

Apart from Medvedev and Prikhodko, the Russian delegation to Vietnam includes Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov. The visit will last until April 7.

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