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Int'l Cooperation

Last updated: Friday, October 20, 2017

 

Slovak Ambassador: We are expecting Vietnamese PM to pay an official visit to Slovakia

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

“We are expecting the Vietnamese Prime Minister to pay an official visit to Slovakia,” said HE Mr IGOR PACOLAK, Ambassador of Slovakia to Vietnam, in an interview with Vietnam Business Forum. The Slovak-Vietnam traditional relationship has developed and been fruitful during the past years, and Slovakia’s expectation of hosting the official visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister next year is a strong political sign of the will to support the trade and investment projects, added the Ambassador. Thu Huyen reports.

What can you comment about the Vietnam and Slovakia cooperative relationship during the past years, especially since the visit of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico?

Slovakia and Vietnam have a special relationship. There is a mutual trust, high level of political relations and partnership, without any issues or opened questions. Vietnam is a close and traditional partner with strong historical links. Due to the strong cooperation in the past, in the Czecho-Slovakia era, Slovakia is nowadays still considered to be a traditional friend for Vietnam.

Our political contacts have risen in recent years. Apart of many high level visits we had a very fruitful and successful visit of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in July 2016. We are expecting Vietnamese Prime Minister to pay an official visit to Slovakia beginning of next year. This is a strong political sign of the will to support trade and investment projects.

We welcome high-level political dialogues between governments, parliaments and parties of the two countries; we continue to maintain delegation exchanges and fortify cooperation between ministries, sectors, localities and enterprises. Visits and exchanges between Vietnamese and Slovak leaders generate momentum for bilateral economic, trade and investment ties to match each country’s potential and expectations. Two-way trade has soared 15-fold over the past eight years, but remains modest compared to its potential.

We have identified 5 important projects with governmental support on both sides, including Vietnamese FPT and Slovak companies operating in various fields in Vietnam: Stroje Martin - LED lights in Nghe An, CZ Slovakia - real estate project in Ho Chi Minh City, Slavia Capital - pipeline Vietnam - Laos, BTG Holding - industrial park in Hoa Binh province and Microstep MIS - meteorological units and air and water quality control. These companies also set-up their Vietnamese branch offices which is a good sign of trust in the market development.

Although the two countries have developed, Vietnam-Slovakia trade relations have not matched the potential of the two sides. What measures are needed to push bilateral trade to new heights and what are the areas of potential bilateral cooperation?
Slovakia and Vietnam are traditional friends indeed, diplomatic relations were established 67 years ago on 2 February 1950; Czecho-Slovakia was the fourth country in the world to found formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam which is a very important partner of Slovakia in Southeast Asia.

With its flexible open-door economic policy and mechanisms, Vietnam serves as a bridge and destination for Slovak goods to enter not only Vietnam, but also the ASEAN region. For its part, Slovakia is also an important partner and a gateway for Vietnam’s products to penetrate Europe. Slovakia gives high estimations to the Vietnamese community’s contributions to promotion of the Vietnam-Slovakia friendship.

When we talk about trade relations, it is important to mention that Vietnam is the 14th most important trade partner of Slovakia worldwide. It is bigger partner than the USA, Turkey, India or Ukraine in terms of trade turnover. Also Slovakia is the 2nd largest trading partner of Vietnam in the Central and Eastern Europe region, after Poland. The number of Slovak companies interested in Vietnamese market has been growing in the past years both in trade and investment.

In 2016, the bilateral trade volume was according to Vietnam statistics recorded at US$450 million, more than other countries like, for example, Czech, Hungary, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania or Finland. Among 28 European Union countries, Slovakia is 9th in import volume from Vietnam, importing mainly telephones (150 million), computers (70 million), footwear (89 million) and textile (US$3 million). 

The strong and successful Vietnamese community in Slovakia is a great added value to our relations, as well as the fact that many successful Vietnamese who studied in Slovakia in the past still have great connections there, both personal and business. They have been and still can be the ones that help push the trade relations higher.

Slovakia is strong in the fields of defence industry, military technology, energy, food, banking, finance, plastics, construction, mining, information technology, oil and general trade. So, what will Slovakia support Vietnam to develop in these areas?
Yes, indeed we have identified these sectors as those with high potential, but we also aim to narrow them down and focus more on fewer fields. ICT is certainly one of the strongest sectors where we see possibilities on both sides. We have FPT group investment in Slovakia that has been successful and we have seen developments in cooperation between VNPT, FPT and Slovak strong ICT players like SWAN, Slavia Capital and Gratex.

Energy, mainly Green energy, is another potential sector where Slovak companies like E-group and Theta Energy Group are ready to invest into green projects in Vietnam.
Real Estate is another strong field with ongoing investments, with CZ Slovakia building high-end offices in Ho Chi Minh City and other upcoming investments in Nha Trang, Phu Quoc. 

What do you think about the future development of relations between the two countries?
On 20 - 21 June 2017 we will host the 2nd meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between Slovakia and Vietnam in Bratislava including a business forum with focus on energy, ICT, electronics, construction and agriculture. We believe this will bring many opportunities for our business sectors to meet and discuss the potential cooperation in the near future. 

Both sides vow to support each other in regional and global issues of shared concern, including climate change and water resources security, the management of Mekong-Danube water resources, and work closely together at the United Nations and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The two sides support each other at regional and international forums. Slovakia backs Vietnam’s enhancement of relations with the European Union, as well as the ratification and implementation of the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

In the beginning of 2018 the EVFTA will be ratified. This will be a milestone in the relations between EU countries and Vietnam. Both sides will benefit from this agreement. It will help trade and investment activities of both Slovak and Vietnamese companies to strengthen the cooperation and lead to many new projects. It will certainly boost the Vietnamese economy and help Vietnamese companies to become more competitive on the global market.

We already see stronger interest from our business community to explore the local market. FTA is a great tool to attract more companies as they can benefit from tariff reductions and bring benefits to their customers on both markets.

The 2nd meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between Slovakia and Vietnam in Bratislava in June 2017 will focus on specific and high added value projects. The head of Vietnam delegation will be Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, and we encourage and welcome your readers to come to Slovakia to find their business partners and investors.

 








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