Clear sailing for increased Vietnam-Greece cooperation

09:35 | 06/03/2017 Cooperation

(VEN) - Despite continuous growth, trade between Vietnam and Greece remains modest. Therefore, the two sides will accelerate negotiations to sign double taxation avoidance and maritime transport cooperation agreements, in an effort to increase bilateral trade.  

clear sailing for increased vietnam greece cooperation
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias

Vietnam and Greece established diplomatic relations in 1975 and have seen the progress of bilateral cooperation, especially in trade and investment. In the past several years, despite the adverse impact of the global economic recession, bilateral trade has grown continuously from US$196 million in 2015 to US$239 million in 2016, triple that of 2010. However, these results remain modest compared with the potential.

Therefore, the visit of Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias to Vietnam in mid-February 2017 was aimed at boosting economic cooperation between the two countries.

In his talk with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, the two leaders discussed and reached a consensus on measures to boost bilateral cooperation, including the exchange of delegations at different levels, and the development of cooperation mechanisms, such as political consultations between the two ministries of foreign affairs.

The two sides agreed to further encourage and create favorable conditions for businesses to increase contacts, exchange experiences and establish partnerships. The focus of these efforts will target fields in which Vietnam has demand and Greece has advantages, such as ship building, repair and management, supply of marine transportation, seaport and logistics services.

The two leaders also expressed intentions to boost cooperation in education, training, culture and heritage conservation. The two foreign ministers agreed to maintain tight cooperation at regional and international forums, especially in the framework of the United Nations, ASEAN, EU, and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). As an active and responsible member of ASEAN, Vietnam is willing to support Greece’s efforts to expand relations with ASEAN and its member states.

According to Minister Nikos Kotzias, Greece wants to promote cooperation with Vietnam in a wide range of fields. “We have discussed measures to increase the cooperation between businesses of the two countries in economics, tourism, culture, and especially shipping. Greece is willing to offer a gateway to connect Vietnam with the EU,” he said.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed Vietnam’s willingness to create favorable conditions for foreign investors, including Greek businesses, to operate in Vietnam. He said that Vietnam highly appreciated Greece’s support for the development of Vietnam-EU relations (the Greek Parliament recently ratified the Agreement on Partnership and Comprehensive Cooperation between Vietnam and the EU). He asked Greece to support the signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and ratify it as soon as possible. These agreements are expected to open new trade and investment cooperation opportunities between Vietnam and the EU, in general, and Greece in particular.

Song Nguyen