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Medvedev’s visit to Vietnam to help facilitate preparations for signing free trade zone

April 05, 2015, 3:29 UTC+3 HANOI
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HANOI, April 5. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Vietnam starting on Sunday will facilitate preparation of an agreement on free trade zone between the country and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko told journalists on Sunday.

Free trade zone will be discussed at negotiations. However, no document is planned to be signed yet as it requires consultations with Moscow’s partners in EEU.

"Work continues, we did not plan to finish it by this visit, there will be detailed discussions," Prikhodko said. "We think that Medvedev’s visit and talks will help facilitate and speed up work on this agreement," he added.

Vietnam and EEU countries are currently at the final stage of negotiations and "hope to sign the agreement this year," Prikhodko noted. Economic cooperation with Vietnam will get a new dimension once Hanoi signs an agreement on free trade zone with the union, the deputy minister said. "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.

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.

Answering a journalist’s question on the possibility of using the Cam Ranh base by Russia, Prikhodko said the issue will not be on agenda of talks.

In March, US Department of State spokesman Jen Psaki urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia doesn't use its access "to conduct activities that can raise tensions in the region" in connection with Russian planes’ refueling at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh base. She also voiced the hope Hanoi would not permit this in the future.

The Cam Ranh Peninsula for 23 years was used by Russia’s Pacific Fleet as its logistics facility. It was Russia’s largest naval base in a foreign territory. In May 2002 Russia officially handed over that facility back to Vietnam. Hanoi declared that it would be using the infrastructures’ potential on its own for socio-economic development.

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