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Apr 21, 2023 / 17:10

Vietnam considered Czech’s most important partner in SEA: Petr Fiala

In the next 1-2 years, both countries aim to reach a trade volume of US$1 billion.

The Czech Republic considers Vietnam its most important partner in Southeast Asia and is committed to fostering cooperative relations with the country across various fields.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Czech counterpart Fetr Fiala. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala made the remarks at a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh today [April 21] during his visit to Vietnam from April 20-22.

In the talks, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reiterated Vietnam's unwavering commitment to strengthening relations with its traditional friends, recognizing the Czech Republic as a priority partner.

He emphasized the importance of Prime Minister Petr Fiala's visit in bringing the already strong friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two countries to a new level of development. Chinh also warmly congratulated the Czech government and people for their remarkable achievements in post-pandemic economic recovery.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed his delight at his first visit to Vietnam and sincerely thanked his Vietnamese counterpart and the Vietnamese people for the warm and cordial welcome accorded to his delegation.

He affirmed that the Czech Republic cherishes the long-standing traditional friendship with Vietnam, which has a history of more than 70 years. Prime Minister Petr Fiala also praised Vietnam's remarkable achievements in national development, renovation, and international integration.

Describing Vietnam as the most important partner in Southeast Asia, Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed the Czech Republic's keen interest in further developing cooperation with Vietnam in all fields.

In a frank and open atmosphere, the two Prime Ministers had in-depth discussions on socio-economic development, bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

They expressed satisfaction with the positive developments in bilateral relations despite the challenging context of the pandemic. The two leaders also highlighted the immense potential for cooperation between the two countries and agreed on concrete directions and measures to enhance cooperation in all fields.

 Overview of the meeting. 

Both sides recognized the importance of increasing the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially high-level visits, and reaffirmed their commitment to effectively implement existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms. They also discussed and planned to establish new cooperation frameworks to further deepen the traditional friendship between the two countries.

On the economic and trade front, the two welcomed the significant growth of bilateral trade turnover in recent years, especially after the two-year implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), with a total of US$848 million in 2022. They set the goal of reaching a trade turnover of $1 billion in the next 1-2 years by fully and effectively implementing the EVFTA agreement, improving the effectiveness of the Joint Committee mechanism for economic cooperation, and encouraging Czech businesses to invest in Vietnam, especially in areas where the Czech Republic has expertise, such as automotive manufacturing, digital transformation, renewable energy, environment, and infrastructure.

Both sides also pledged to create favorable conditions for the export of Vietnamese agricultural and aquatic products to the Czech market.

Prime Minister Chinh urged the Czech Republic to continue its efforts to encourage other EU member states to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala highlighted Vietnam as a promising economic partner, with growing interest from Czech businesses to expand investment and trade in Vietnam.

On the issue of the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) yellow card for Vietnam's seafood exports, Prime Minister Petr Fiala expressed support for enhanced cooperation between the EU and Vietnam on sustainable fisheries development and the European Commission's (EC) prompt removal of the yellow card.

The two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in various fields, including security and defense, culture, education and training, labor, science and technology, transportation, and tourism. They also discussed the possibility of opening cultural centers in each country and establishing direct flights to promote investment, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.

 The two leaders witness the signing of cooperation agreements in criminal matters, legal assistance, and education. 

Chinh thanked the Czech Government for creating favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community to integrate and live a stable life and for their positive contributions to the socio-economic life in the Czech Republic. He expressed confidence that the Vietnamese community will continue to play an important role as a bridge to promote friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The Czech Prime Minister expressed his high appreciation for the role of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic, which was officially recognized as an ethnic minority by the Czech government in 2013. The Vietnamese community has made significant positive contributions to the socio-economic development of the Czech Republic, he said.

At talks, the two Prime Ministers also had extensive discussions on regional and international issues of mutual concern. They reaffirmed their commitment to close coordination and mutual support in international forums and organizations, particularly in promoting ASEAN-Czech Republic-EU relations, as well as cooperation in the United Nations and ASEM.

On the issue of the East Sea, the two sides reiterated their support for the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, in particular the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

Following the talks, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister Petr Fiala witnessed the signing of cooperation documents in the areas of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, investment, and education.