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Norway always supports Vietnam’s negotiations on the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EFTA bloc, said Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske.

During hiNorway seeks closer trade ties with Vietnams meeting with Vietnamese counterpart Vu Huy Hoang in Hanoi on April 1, Minister Trond Giske said that the bilateral FTA will create new cooperation opportunities for both countries thanks to tariff reduction and removal of trade barriers.

Minister Hoang thanked the Norwegian Government for its constant assistance to Vietnam’s development process, both in the past and at present. He said Vietnam always treasures its cooperation with Norway – one of its key trade and economic partners in Europe.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs’ statistics, the two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Norway in 2012 reached US$257 million, up 0.5 percent compared to the previous year. Vietnam’s export earnings from the Norwegian market in 2012 were estimated at US$125 million, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.

However, the two ministers agreed that such results were far from meeting bilateral expectations.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA), being comprised of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, has recognized Vietnam’s market economy status and is in the process of FTA negotiations.

The fourth round of negotiations between Vietnam and EFTA will be held in Oslo, Norway, in June, in the hope of creating a legal framework for both sides to increase business cooperation and investment.

(VOV)

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