The Council of Ministers has ratified the Cooperation Agreement, signed on 17 July 1995, between the European Community and Vietnam. It came into force on 1 June 1996. The Agreement aims to enhance and develop cooperation between the Community and Vietnam in the following areas: - Trade, commerce and investment in both directions; - Support for sustainable economic development in Vietnam, and the improvement of living conditions of the poorer sections of the population; - Promotion of economic cooperation in the parties' mutual interests, including support to the Vietnamese government's economic restructuring; - Support for environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources. Specific areas of cooperation covered in the Agreement include science and technology, energy, intellectual property rights, drug abuse control and agriculture. A Joint Commission, composed of representatives of both parties, will be established to ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement, and will set out priorities for action. The Agreement has been concluded for a period of five years.