Int'l Cooperation

Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Vietnam - Russia Relations: In New Epoch

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2017

“Vietnam is no longer a country of war time. With the present economic growth rate, Vietnam can be a factory of the world. Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia with which we have established the highest relationship - comprehensive strategic partnership,” said Mr Konstantin Vnukov, Russian Ambassador to Vietnam, in an interview with Vietnam Business Forum. Ngoc Anh reports.

How do you evaluate the traditional relationship between Vietnam and Soviet Union in the past and the present between Vietnam and Russian Federation?
Vietnam and Russian Federation have maintained long-standing relations of nearly 70 years. The Soviet Union was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Though the relations at that time were based mostly on ideological foundation, it was truly a mutual assistance. Few people in Vietnam know that during the hard days of World War II (December 1941) 11 Vietnamese volunteers joined as defenders of Moscow. In Russia, we always remember those valiant volunteers. The Soviet Union has helped Vietnam in several areas, training workforce, building factories. As Russian Ambassador to Vietnam, I witness the feelings of Vietnamese people toward that assistance. In the present conditions, though changes took place in Vietnam, Russia and the world, we still feel the unchanged mutual assistance. Remembering the past, we look to the future and regulate the relations for the better. Now, our relationship is no longer based on ideology, but on major interests of the two countries. For that reason, I am optimistic about the future relations between the two countries.

What do you think the FTA between Vietnam and EAEU (Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) will bring, in terms of opportunities and challenges to businesses? What advantages are there for Vietnam in entering EAEU market?
Vietnam is the first country to sign FTA with EAEU. The FTA is of mutual interest. Vietnam can approach a market of 5 countries with 183 million consumers, GDP of US$2.2 trillion. For its part, Russia can also join the Vietnamese market of 90 million people. We can possibly serve as a good example for ASEAN members. There is only complementarity and no rivalry between Vietnam and EAEU. Russian market needs Vietnamese exports such as sea-products, vegetables, fruits, garments, footwear, electronic parts, etc. Meanwhile Vietnam also needs Russian industrial and agricultural products. The mutual needs will reduce almost 90 per cent of import tax, 59 per cent immediately when FTA is in force and 30 per cent in the next process, regarding almost 10,000 items.

The FTA entered into force on October 5, 2016 with positive results. According to statistics of the customs of the two countries, in the first two months of 2017, the two-way trade volume increased 24 per cent with US$615 million, and in the first 4 months 31 per cent with US$1.1 billion. Russia attained high records in oil industry with Vietnam, a traditional field of cooperation. Therefore I believe that the FTA will ensure a bilateral figure of US$10 billion in 2020.

On the occasion of the visit of President Tran Dai Quang to the Russian Federation, and Vietnam-Russia Business Forum, can you describe your contribution to promote bilateral cooperation?
The visit of President Tran Dai Quang to the Russian Federation is most important. We are working very hard on it to promote economic and trade relations. I have certain proposals to promote trade quantity and quality, enforce FTA between Vietnam and EAEU, increase oil exploration in both countries and ensure long-term supply of liquid gas to Vietnam, improving the environment in big cities including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. We also have new cooperation in energy sector, improving thermal power stations namely Long Phu 1, Long Phu 3, Quang Trach, implementation of protocols on truck and bus assembly in Vietnam, solving issues between Vietnam-Russia Bank and BIDV in bilateral payments in their national currencies.

Another important issue is long distance transport. We have discussed with EAEU members and China to develop rail transport or use the existing trans-Siberian railway. Likewise, it is also important to increase flights between the two countries.

In addition, the two countries will discuss developing tourism to attain the target of 500,000 Russian tourists visiting Vietnam in 2017. I am glad that Vietnam has become a favourite destination for Russian tourists. We consider Nha Trang an “unofficial tourist capital for Russians”, needing to build more hotels. The reason is most understandable as Vietnam has good service and is a safe destination.

2017 will be a busy year for my Embassy with bright prospects for Russia-Vietnam relations. It is also historic that in one year there are two top level State visits, of President Tran Dai Quang to Russia and President V. Putin to Vietnam on the occasion of the APEC Summit.


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