Monday, 23 Sep 2019
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ECONOMY

Vietnam and Middle East, Africa seek to unlock economic cooperation potential

Updated at Monday, 09 Sep 2019, 18:41
The Hanoitimes - The cooperation between Vietnam and the Middle East and Africa should go beyond the trade to promote experience sharing and bolster the development of the two sides.
Vietnam and the Middle East and Africa may harness the potential of economic cooperation in a range of various areas, especially in trade, telecommunication and agriculture, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair Nguyen Quoc Cuong stressed at the first-ever “Meet Ambassadors from the Middle East and Africa 2019” in Hanoi on September 9. 
 
Deputy Foreign Affair Nguyen Quoc Cuong speaks at the seminar.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Cuong speaks at the opening of the conference.
Held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the two-day conference marks the participation of 44 ambassadors, chargés d’affaires, and dozens of representatives of international organizations in Vietnam as well as Vietnamese ministries, agencies and localities. 

Nguyen Quoc Cuong elaborated that Vietnam has established diplomatic relation with 69 out of 70 Middle Eastern and African countries. So far, over 200 documents have been signed to create frameworks for multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and that part of the world. 

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the Middle East-Africa has increased 3.5-fold from US$5 billion in 2010 to US$17.5 billion in 2018 and the trade volume now has rise up 300% compared to 2008. Total investment from both sides reached US$5.5 billion. 

The collaboration between Vietnam and those countries covers various aspects, especially in agriculture,
energy, transportation, labor and exchanges of experts, contributing to the socio-economical development of Vietnam and many countries in the regions.  

Notably, Vietnam’s telecommunication projects in some African countries have provided the locals with greater access to wireless services and expanded opportunities for global digital connectivity.  

However, trade with the Middle East and Africa, a vast area of 70 countries, just accounts for a modest 3.5% of Vietnam’s total trade turnover of US$480 billion. 

He said that the cooperation between Vietnam and the Middle East and Africa should go beyond the trade to promote experience sharing and bolster the development of the two sides. 

Egyptian Ambassador to Vietnam Mahmoud Hassan Nayel said that the conference reflects the desire of Vietnam and the Middle East and Africa to discuss issues regarding cooperation and development basing on the strengths and priorities of each side.  

The two-way trade between Vietnam and African partners of over US$17 billion in 2018 reflects the huge cooperative potential, mostly in agricultural infrastructure and telecommunications.  

It is expected that the rising position of Vietnam in the world stage and its ASEAN chairmanship in 2020 will help expand the links between Vietnam and that part of the world.  

On the sidelines of the conference, Adib Kouteili, co-founder and director of PEB Steel from Lebanon, said that Vietnam has boosted its export thanks to significant changes in regulations, infrastructure, logistics as well as shipping lines between the country and the Middle-East and Africa.  

“All businesses and nations have obstacles, but Vietnam has understood the system and created favorable conditions for investors. We rate obstacles in Vietnam less serious than those in other countries and really believe that Vietnam is a good environment to invest in,” said Adib.

 
Ha An
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