Speaking with Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung by telephone Thursday, Merkel said Germany supports the European Union ratifying a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam soon, as well as the start of talks on a Vietnam-E.U. free trade agreement, the ministry said in a statement.

Germany is Vietnam's largest trading partner in the E.U., with bilateral trade growing 15 percent a year recently to reach $4.1 billion in 2010, it added.

Dow Jones - May 5, 2011