The Vietnam-EU Business Forum 2013 kicked off in Vietnam\'s southern Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday and was co-chaired by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( VCCI) - Ho Chi Minh City Branch and delegation of the European Union (EU) in Vietnam. Participants to the forum reviewed the economic development in Vietnam and EU countries, as well as discussed measures to lift bilateral ties and trade cooperation to a new level, state-run Vietnam News Agency reported. According to VCCI, in 2012 the EU surpassed the United States to become Vietnam\'s largest export market and the country\'s second biggest trade partner, with total import-export turnover reaching 29.09 billion U.S. dollars, up 19.77 percent over those in 2011. In the first three months of this year, the Vietnam-EU trade value reached over 6 billion dollars, up 26.18 percent year on year. Of the figure, the export value earned 4.34 billion dollars (up 27.18 percent), while the import value hit 1.78 billion dollars (up 23.7 percent). Participants were also updated with EU\'s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for the 2014-2016 periods, which will be enacted from January 1, 2014. Under this new status, Vietnamese exports which enjoyed the EU\' s GSP during 2009-2013, will not be applied to the new GSP for 2014-2016 periods (the exports are listed in Item 2, such as foot wear, hand bags and umbrellas). They also heard about EU\'s new barriers in technical standards and food safety. Experts from the EU delegation presented practical solutions on how to approach the value added chain so that businesses can take full advantages of the free trade agreement (FTA), and how to set up business strategy to enter effectively into the EU market.