HO CHI MINH CITY, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (E.U.) is currently the second largest trade partner and the top export market of Vietnam, said European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso here on Friday.
The EC president made the remarks while meeting with representatives from European businesses, the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Eurocham) and a number of Consulates General in Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City during his one-day visit to the city, according to state-run Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV).
Vietnam-E.U. two-way trade turnover hit more than 13 billion U. S. dollars in the first six months of 2014, up nearly 13 percent from a year earlier.
Key items included garments and textiles, footwear, coffee, seafood, timber products, electronics, and consumer goods, VOV quoted the EC president as saying.
Twenty-three out of 28 E.U. member countries are investing roughly 18.4 billion U.S. dollars in 1,471 projects in Vietnam.
HCM City attracted 538 E.U.-funded projects with a combined capital investment of 2.8 billion U.S. dollars.
At the meeting, Barroso spoke highly of the E.U.'s comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam, which he described as a promising market and reliable partner in the region and the world.
The E.U. always strongly supports Vietnam's development strategy towards building an industrial country by 2020, he said.
While in the city, Barroso visited local historic and cultural sites including the War Remnants Museum, the Municipal Theatre, the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and the Municipal Post Office.
He also met with HCM City's mayor Le Hoang Quan.
Barroso paid a two-day visit to Vietnam, starting from Monday, at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to boost broader Vietnam-E.U. cooperation, local media reported.