EU to increase aid for Vietnam by 30 pct

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung shakes hands with Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in Hanoi on August 12. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung shakes hands with Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in Hanoi on August 12. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency
The EU will increase its official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam by 30 percent to EUR400 million (US$534.6 million) in the next five years, according to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on Tuesday.
Ashton made the announcement while meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi.
She said the decision, made as the EU is faces mounting difficulties, reflects the union’s wish to assist Vietnam on its path toward development.
The EU is making every effort to accelerate the ratification of the Vietnam-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and conclude negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, she said, adding that the two sides will actively work together to ensure that Vietnam meets the necessary criteria for market economy status from the EU.
Later the same day, Ashton met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who praised the union’s decision to increase ODA to Vietnam through 2020.
The two expressed pleasure with the rapid and positive development of the EU-Vietnam ties in all fields. The EU is now Vietnam's largest export market, the biggest non-refundable aid provider and a leading investor in Vietnam. Two-way trade reached over $33.7 billion last year, up 16 percent over the previous year.
They agreed to conclude FTA negotiations by October of this year.

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