EU seeks Vietnam free-trade pact

HANOI – The European Union's top diplomat says she hopes the EU will soon conclude a free-trade agreement with Vietnam.

Speaking to reporters in Hanoi during a one-day visit Tuesday, Catherine Ashton, says negotiations on the agreement were making good progress and that she hopes the deal could be signed before the end of the year.

The EU is already Vietnam's largest export market, with shipments worth 21 billion euros ($28 billion) last year, the free trade agreement will help Vietnam to further expand its markets of 28 EU members countries with over 500 million people.

Currently, Vietnam has a free-trade agreement with 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.

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