Last updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Vietnam-UAE: Burgeoning Ties Moving Toward Higher LevelPosted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ( R) receives Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have achieved a distinguished record of active cooperation ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1993. Nowadays, the two countries have continued an effective cooperation in politics, trade, investment, aviation, culture, education, labour, tourism as well as reinforced high-ranking visits and friendly exchanges. Additionally, many investment and trade promotion delegations between the two countries have been underway over the last time. Both the UAE and Vietnam always stand to support and coordinate with each other in international forums. The two countries share a common point of view of international issues, regional security.
Nearly twenty five years, the two nations have walked a long way together in which trade exchange and economic cooperation have been developed well and become an important pillar of the cooperation. Remarkably, bilateral trade turnover has rapidly increased year-on-year from US$67 million in 2002 to US$5.4 billion in 2016 (more than 80 folds since 2002), is expected to reach US$7 billion in the time ahead. Vietnam often has a trade surplus with the UAE. So far, the UAE has become among the top ten largest trade partner of Vietnam. As one of ASEAN’s fastest growing economies, Vietnam provides attractive business and investment opportunities. As such, Vietnam is high on the Dubai Exports’ 2016 Agenda, which focuses on expanding markets and increasing knowledge sharing with priority countries.
Meanwhile, the UAE has invested extensively in Vietnam’s different projects. UAE-based companies also accept a large number of employees of Vietnam who play a major role in the development of the UAE. This trading and investment relationship will absolutely continue to grow stronger. As a hub of the Middle East and a gateway to both Europe and Africa, the UAE is well placed to facilitate Vietnamese access and expansion into the global market. Concurrently, the UAE also recognises Vietnam as a gateway to South East Asia.
Over the two decades, the UAE has already been considered one of the leading foreign investors in Vietnam, driven by some of the country’s most prominent companies, including Mubadala, DP World and Nakheel. This has resulted from the two countries signing a number of far-reaching and important economic agreements, which have the impact of increasing confidence and ensuring that both Vietnamese and Emirati investors are ever more willing to work closely together. Consequently, a number of major UAE companies have entered into partnership with Vietnamese companies on large joint venture projects in the infrastructure, residential and tourism sectors. For example, DP World’s seaport project - Saigon Premier Central Terminal recorded with an investment of more than US$500 million, another big project by DP World - namely Ha Long Star residential and resort complex estimated an investment of US$550 million, or Dubai’s Ear Properties and Vietnam’s Bitexco Group, are currently undertaking US$1.34 billion to build a new urban area in Ho Chi Minh City.
But the relationship and similarities between the UAE and Vietnam are about more than just trade and economy. Both countries share a rich cultural heritage and strong family traditions. Both countries have young populations and seek to focus on economic prosperity that is environmentally sustainable, as well as to foster societies that are equitable and inclusive. And both the UAE and Vietnam house sites of natural and man-made beauty, attracting visitors from across the world.
While the UAE is determined to pursue its economic growth, at the same time, it is aware of the need to ensure that development is sustainable. Part of this is the recognition that natural resources are exhaustible, and need to be used wisely, coupled with the understanding that the country must play its part, along with others, to efforts to deal with the global threat posed by climate change. Accordingly, the UAE has invested at home and abroad in solutions to the climate challenge, leading the region in deploying clean energy, including four nuclear power stations that are now under construction and the world's largest concentrating solar power plant - Shams 1, developed by Masdar. The UAE is supposed that the sustainable development and renewable energy are also the interest of Vietnam in the process of its deeper global integration.
Although, the UAE has now transformed into a model for others through exemplary achievements in various fields, however the most sparkling feather in its cap is its leading role at the global level in the field of humanitarian aid for people in need, regardless of geography, race or religion. As passing time, UAE citizens and residents recall with pride the life of the founding father - Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his tireless efforts to promote the country as a global capital for charitable works. The country has remained generous over the years, and more than 117 countries worldwide benefited from this generosity, including Vietnam. During the past years, an amount of approximate US$2 million was donated by the UAE foundations for needy people in Vietnam's southern areas. Remarkably, the reputation organizations such as the UAE Red Crescent Society, the Dar Al Ber Society, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and many Emirati people have funded the purchase of medical equipment and ambulances, the construction of clinics and houses, as well as electric pumps, schools, mosques and bridges for poor people in An Giang and Tay Ninh provinces, as well as Ho Chi Minh City. So far, all construction works have been finished and put into operation and brought about many changes and much happiness to local people.
Furthermore, direct flights between the UAE and Vietnam by Emirates and Etihad continue to bring both countries closer together. As such, it is clear that opportunities to further enhance cooperation between Vietnam and the UAE are plentiful. The burgeoning ties will definitely be moving forward to a higher level.