Feb 2, 2013

Vietnam - Turning on diplomatic charm

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Vietnam has forged a strategic partnership with Italy and deepened its strategic partnership with the United Kingdom.

During the Party’s General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Italy on January 20-22, Trong had talks with Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano and met with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti.

This year is for the two countries to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The two sides issued a joint statement on raising the existing comprehensive cooperation to a strategic partnership to boost the bilateral relationship in all areas.

In terms of strengthening the political-diplomatic cooperation, the two sides agreed to continue expanding the exchange of high-level delegations. They also agreed to promote cooperation between regions and localities of the two countries, particularly in the areas of economy, trade and investment, education and training, culture and tourism.

Regarding economic relations, Italy will support Vietnam’s economic development through sharing technologies and experiences of Italian enterprises, in the fields of infrastructure like roads, railways, urban transportation, ports and airports, mechanical engineering industry - particularly for textile and garment, leather footwear, wooden furniture, food and foodstuff processing and preservation, and processing industry.

The two sides also promoted specific public-private partnerships (PPP) and initiatives, in such fields as infrastructure, energy, metallurgy, telecommunications, tourism, environment, healthcare, fashion. Vietnam promised to create favourable conditions for Italy’s investment projects in oil and gas extraction.

To facilitate the activities of the two sides’ businesses and promote bilateral trade and investment, Vietnam and Italy agreed to establish a Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, coordinated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development and convened yearly on rotational basis.

According to the statement, the two sides agreed to conclude a new protocol for the development assistance to Vietnam for 2013-2015 through grants and concessional credits to support Vietnam’s economic and social infrastructure. These efforts will focus on water and environment, healthcare, human resources development and support for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The two sides will consider gradual shifting from traditional cooperation areas towards new ones, such as climate change response, scientific training and research and green/clean energy.

Besides establishing the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership, the two countries also clinched a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the Italy House project and an action programme on educational cooperation between the two governments in 2013-2016. The other inked MoUs cover cooperation between the two defence ministries, cooperation and administrative assistance in the customs sector, and cooperation between PetroVietnam and Italian National Oil and Gas Group. The Italian side granted an oil and gas exploration and exploitation licence to PetroVietnam.

Meanwhile, during his visit to the UK during January 22-23 Trong had talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, in order to further sharpen the two countries’ bilateral strategic partnership forged in 2010. This year will see Vietnam and the UK celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

The two sides issued a joint statement, further underlining their continued commitment to achieving the targets of increasing bilateral trade to $4 billion and British investment in Vietnam to $3 billion this year.

Particularly, the UK pledged to support the process of negotiation and signing of the Vietnam- EU Free Trade Agreement, and early recognition of the Vietnamese economy’s market status, while Vietnam vowed to further improve its investment environment, thus enabling British businesses to operate more effectively in Vietnam. Both sides welcomed Rolls-Royce’s intention to bid to supply engines for Vietnam Airlines’ fleet of Boeing in 2013.

This visit was also used by Vietnam and the UK to sign the Vietnam–UK Plan of Action for 2013, the first MoU on PPP, an agreement on establishing the bilateral defence working group between the two ministries of Defence.

Both sides also clinched an MoU on exchange of migration information between Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and the UK’s Home Office, and an MoU on measures to promote the establishment of the UK-Vietnam International University in Vietnam’s central Danang city.

Also last week, during her official visit to Vietnam during January 18-21, 2013, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez had talks with Vietnam’s State President Truong Tan Sang and met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.

The leaders from both countries vowed to further cement cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, energy, science-technology, health, and education and training. This year Vietnam and Argentina will celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

Thanh Dat | vir.com.vn

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