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Netherlands backs early signing of Vietnam-EU FTA

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaking at his talks with Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in The Hague on Monday, said the Netherlands supports the early signing and ratification of the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement.

The early signing and ratification of the FTA between Vietnam and the European Union will open up new opportunities for trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands, PM Rutte was quoted by the Vietnamese Government news website as saying.

PM  Rutte said the Netherlands will provide continued assistance for Vietnam to update the Mekong Delta Plan with a long-term vision for the delta, with practical recommendations for its safe and sustainable development.

The two leaders discussed ways to step up ties in fields such as climate change adaptation, water resource management, agriculture, oil and gas, logistics and seaport development, and reaffirmed their resolve to deepen bilateral ties, and maintain contacts and exchanges of delegations, especially high-level ones, to strengthen mutual trust and understanding.

They agreed the countries will create favorable conditions for their businesses to cooperate in priority areas like climate change and water management, high-tech agriculture, renewable energy, logistics and seaport development.

The two sides will step up coordination and mutual support at international organizations and multilateral forums and strengthen bilateral defense and security cooperation and UN-led peace-keeping operations.

PM Phuc, who visited the Netherlands from July 8 to 11, said Vietnam wanted stronger ties with the Netherlands, one of the top EU partners of Vietnam. The Netherlands is Vietnam’s second biggest European trade partner with two-way trade amounting to US$6.7 billion last year and the biggest European investor in Vietnam with total capital pledges of US$7.7 billion.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two PMs underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.

PM Rutte reiterated his country’s position of settling disputes by peaceful means and complying with diplomatic and legal processes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A joint statement issued by the two nations says, “Prime Minister Rutte and Prime Minister Phuc recognized that peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea (which Vietnam calls East Sea), are of strategic significance.

“The leaders also affirmed their full support for the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).” 

The statement notes both sides would explore ways to intensify bilateral dialogues on international law and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. “The leaders pledged to further strengthen cooperation in training experts, academic exchange among each other’s institutions and researchers in the field of international law, especially in the law of the sea.”

Source: The Saigon Times

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