Vietnam\'s export to the European Union (EU) is likely to slow its pace of growth to around 10 percent this year, according to Vietnam\'s Ministry of Industry and Trade on Tuesday. As the EU market\'s economy is still hampered by numerous challenges, Vietnamese key exporters have found it hard to seek new orders this year. The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) revealed that its exports to the EU market were forecast to fall due to lower consumption demand and tougher pricing competition from foreign garment and textile exporters. For seafood sector, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has raised concerns about the sector\'s ability to increase EU market export turnover in 2013. The association argues the decline in seafood export turnover to the EU market will persist throughout the year, reported local Voice of Vietnam. In 2012, the two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and EU reached over 29 billion U.S. dollars, up 19.77 percent from 2011, according to the General Department of Customs. In a breakdown, Vietnam exported to EU some 20.31 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods, an increase of 22.71 percent year-on-year, and spent 8.79 billion U.S. dollars to import goods from the bloc, up 13.48 percent. The figures made the EU surpass the United States to become Vietnam\'s largest importer in 2012. Vietnam\'s key export items to EU include garments, footwear, coffee, seafood, computers, mobile handsets and spare parts. These commodities accounted for 75 percent of the country\'s total exports last year. On the other hand, Vietnam imports mainly machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals, milk and diary products from EU. At present, the two sides are preparing for negotiations on the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the goal of creating a favorable trading environment for businesses. Once the agreement is signed, most of Vietnamese products will be granted a zero percent tax rate, which is expected to boost bilateral trade amid global economic slowdown.