14:24 | 07/02/2017 Cooperation
(VEN) - Chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, and Azerbaijani Minister of Energy Natiq Aliyev, the first session of the Vietnam-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Committee took place in Hanoi on January 16.
In 2017, Vietnam and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The two sides affirmed that the session was a significant event marking a milestone in bilateral cooperation.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that in 2013 and 2014, Azerbaijan was Vietnam’s third largest trading partner among the former states of the Soviet Union, behind Russia and the Ukraine. Bilateral trade reached US$422.4 million in 2014 but dropped sharply to US$34.2 million in 2015.
In 2016, bilateral trade recovered and reached US$104.44 million, including US$5.14 million worth of Vietnamese exports to Azerbaijan and US$99.30 million worth of imports from this market.
According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong, bilateral cooperation has shown certain progress. High-ranking leaders of the two countries have exchanged visits. In 2014, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev led a high-ranking delegation to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. In 2015, President Truong Tan Sang led a high-ranking delegation on a reciprocal visit to Azerbaijan.
“These visits have created traditions and opportunities for the two countries to boost bilateral cooperation,” said Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, the two countries have signed cooperation agreements in a wide range of fields, such as investment, agriculture, culture, tourism, transport, and justice. However, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, and Azerbaijani Minister of Energy, agreed that cooperation results remain incommensurate with the potential as well as with the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
According to Minister Natiq Aliyev, the Azerbaijani economy has grown strongly in recent years and achieved a gross domestic product growth rate of four percent in 2016. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese economy grew more than 6.2 percent in 2016. Vietnam has become an attractive destination to foreign investors, while Azerbaijan is boosting overseas investment. Vietnamese and Azerbaijani export products complement each other. All these factors combined will provide opportunities for the two countries to boost cooperation in the future.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade indicated the necessity of widening the range of goods that are exchanged between the two countries. On its side, Vietnam will intensify trade promotion activities to increase exports to Azerbaijan.
To expand bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, Minister Tran Tuan Anh agreed with Minister Natiq Aliyev that along with boosting economic, cultural and educational cooperation, the two sides should encourage visits by high-ranking leaders and organize business-to-business meetings to create opportunities for Vietnamese and Azerbaijani businesses to invest in each other’s countries.