Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) chats with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung while walking together at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi April 6, 2015. Medvedev is in Hanoi on a three-day visit to Vietnam from April 5 to 7. REUTERS
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day visit to Vietnam, which started on Sunday, will facilitate the preparation of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Russian news agency TASS reported.
TASS quoted Russian Deputy PM Sergey Prikhodko as saying Russia does not plan to finish the signing of the FTA during this visit, but there will be detailed discussions about the pact.
No document is planned to be signed yet as it requires consultations with Moscow’s partners in EEU, he 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 said.
Russia hopes the signing of the FTA would crank up Russian-Vietnamese trade turnover to US$10 billion by 2020, according to Prikhodko. In 2014, the bilateral trade volume stood at $3.8 billion.
The EEU started operating on January 1 this year, replacing the Eurasian Economic Community. The union includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia with Kyrgyzstan expected joining it in May.
Medvedev told the Vietnamese media in an interview shortly after his visit that the FTA between Vietnam and EEU may become the first agreement for EEU to sign with a third country.
“This would give Vietnam access to a huge market, which includes not only Russia but also its partners, who together have over 40 million people,” he said.