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Vietnam favors creation of free trade zone between ASEAN, EAEU, says minister

The steps offered by the minister "may serve as a basis for mustering efforts of all countries to intensify regional cooperation"

VLADIVOSTOK, September 2. /TASS/. Vietnam suggests steps be made on reaching an agreement establishing a free trade zone between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Minister of Industry and Trade of the republic Nguyen Hong Dien said at a session of the Eastern Economic Forum on Thursday.

"Vietnam has goods prospects of cooperation with the Russian Federation. Russia is our key partner, we have all possibilities to expand cooperation with the EAEU, while Russia can also gain access to a huge market," he said. "For taking advantage of close and trusting relations between the two countries within the framework of the partnership with the EAEU, I offer a number of steps that will allow concluding an agreement on free trade between ASEAN and the EAEU. This may serve as a basis for mustering efforts of all countries to intensify regional cooperation," the minister added.

The relationship between ASEAN and Russia is important for regional and international cooperation, he noted. "In 2020, trade between ASEAN and Russia surpassed $15 bln. Vietnam and ASEAN countries agreed to cooperate with Russia to expand mutual trade and investment, to support global chains of supplies and strengthen the partnership with the Eurasian Economic Union," the Vietnamese minister said, adding that energy, agriculture, telecommunications, oil and gas, digital transformation of the economy, transport and green infrastructure may become the most promising areas of such a cooperation.

Vietnam is ready to serve as a bridge connecting Russia and the EAEU with ASEAN nations, Nguyen Hong Dien said. Moscow and Hanoi have been keeping friendly relations for many decades, "which is demonstrated in all areas in the pandemic period as well," he added.

The VI Eastern Economic Forum is being held in Vladivostok on September 2-4 in a hybrid format, the main theme of the business program is "New Opportunities for the Far East in a Changing World." The forum is organized by the Roscongress Foundation. TASS is the general media partner and the official host photo agency of the event.