Vietnam Boosts Multifaceted Cooperation with Russia, Norway and Sweden

11:26:50 AM | 31/5/2019

On May 20 -28, 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, his spouse and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation paid an official visit to three European countries: Russia, Norway and Sweden at the invitation of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Vietnam, Russia diversifying cooperation ties

The official Russian visit took place from May 20 to 23 before the two countries hold the Vietnam Year in Russia and the Russia Year in Vietnam to celebrate the 25 years since signing of the Treaty on Basic Principles of Vietnam - Russia Friendship Relations (1994 - 2019) and 70 years of bilateral diplomatic relations (1950 - 2020). The visit affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Russia, strongly promotes cooperative relations in all fields, especially in economy, trade and investment.

At the joint press conference chaired by the Vietnamese Prime Minister and his Russian counterpart, in the spirit of a comprehensive strategic partnership, the two Prime Ministers said that the two sides discussed many measures and agreed to continue diversifying cooperation ties, especially new aspects of trade and economic cooperation.

In the coming time, the two sides will expand cooperation in energy and industrial production; facilitate oil and gas cooperation between Gazprom and Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group. Especially, the two leaders also agreed to promote cooperation in food production. They witnessed the signing ceremony of 14 cooperation documents between ministries, branches, localities and enterprises of the two countries.

At the Vietnam - Russia Business Forum attended by more than 350 Vietnamese and Russian businesses, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam is the only strategic partner of Russia in Southeast Asia. In recent years,  two-way trade has increased strongly, featuring a 30% growth in 2018. Currently, 123 Russian projects worth US$1 billion (except for oil and gas) are invested in Vietnam and Vietnam has invested over US$3 billion in Russia.

The Russian Federation is also a training cradle for many Vietnamese officials. At present, thousands of Vietnamese students are studying there. However, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that the current trade value of about US$5 billion (US$6 billion estimated by Russia) is below the actual potential. Therefore, in the coming time, bilateral cooperation should be promoted comprehensively, first of all in trade, investment, tourism and services.

Vietnam, Norway expanding cooperation in marine economy, renewable energy and liquefied natural gas

The official visit to Norway from May 24 to 26 by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc aimed to deepen the traditional friendship and strengthen Norway - Vietnam cooperation in essence and in effect. This was also the first official visit by a Vietnamese Prime Minister to Norway since 1999.

After the official greeting, the Vietnamese and Norwegian Prime Ministers agreed to push for the early completion of the negotiations on the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to which Norway is a key member.

At the joint press conference after the successful meeting, Prime Minister Erna Solberg appreciated cooperation in trade and business between the two countries, affirming that the two sides will continue to expand cooperation in many fields, especially maritime economy, marine navigation, renewable energy and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

She said that, in order to realize sustainable development goals, it is necessary to keep the ocean healthy and efficient. Vietnam and Norway have discussed mobilizing resources both bilaterally and multilaterally responding to global environmental challenges.

For his part, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that the two countries agreed to promote cooperation in many fields, including trade, investment, green maritime economy and clean energy.

At the Vietnam - Norway Business Forum attended by more than 100 Norwegian and Vietnamese companies, Prime Minister Phuc said that the bilateral trade and investment cooperation relations remained modest but tended to grow in recent years. To date, Norway invested in 47 projects with US$163 million in Vietnam, ranking 41st among 130 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation. The two-way trade value reached US$350 million in 2018.

He added that Vietnam and Norway can complement each other to expand effective and beneficial cooperation, especially oil and gas, renewable energy and seafood. Both countries have long coastline and developed seafood industry. Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world and Vietnam is in the Top 5. This is a good point for cooperation and a plus to attract Norwegian companies to farm and process seafood for export, thus contributing to the maritime economy - a strategic development path of Vietnam.

Within the framework of business activities and at the Vietnam - Norway Business Forum, three cooperation agreements on energy, logistics and electricity were signed. Particularly, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) inked a cooperation agreement with the Norwegian Trade and Investment Agency to develop business support projects and programs and promote adoption of EVFTA. These activities show that the bilateral trade and investment cooperation relationship is growing positively and promising to achieve greater results in the future.

Vietnam - Sweden: Great cooperation opportunities

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid the official visit to Sweden from May 26 to 28, aiming to further affirm that Vietnam always puts a premium on consolidating and continuing traditional friendship and cooperation relations built by senior leaders and peoples of the two countries over the past 50 years. This was the first visit by a Vietnamese Prime Minister to Sweden in 20 years.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that the two sides would strengthen delegation exchanges and contacts at all levels; and effectively carry out established bilateral cooperation mechanisms. Prime Minister Phuc and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven affirmed that trade and investment relations play an important role in bilateral cooperation and have achieved significant progress but remained below the potential of the two countries.

To tap the great potential in this field, Prime Minister Phuc proposed that the Swedish Government support and encourage Swedish businesses to increase investment in Vietnam in the fields that Sweden is strong at like manufacturing, chemical, electronics, information and communication, afforestation and sustainable timber logging and processing, waste treatment, pharmaceutical, and auto supporting industries.

The two Prime Ministers agreed to push cooperation in innovations such as smart city, environment, artificial intelligence, internet of things, information and communication and health.

The two leaders agreed to work closely to promote the signing of the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in the coming weeks and quickly ratify and enforce them to benefit all parties and contribute to strengthening trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Sweden. The Swedish Prime Minister awarded the Letter of Intent on US$2 billion credit for investment in Vietnam.

At the Vietnam-Sweden Business Forum held in Stockholm, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven emphasized that Swedish and Vietnamese businesses are facing great opportunities for cooperation.

The Swedish industry has launched many important solutions on construction of smart city, Industrial Revolution 4.0, 5G technology, public transport solutions, power grid and renewable energy, information and telecom technology, air traffic management, wastewater and waste treatment, and medical technology. Sweden stands ready to cooperate with Vietnam in these areas.

Quynh Anh