11:08 | 07/05/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s official visit to Vietnam from April 16-18 has contributed to deepening relations, opening new opportunities for the two countries to boost bilateral economic cooperation.
ietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (right) and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg
Economics is key area of cooperation
During the visit, Prime Minister Erna Solberg talked with her Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung. The two leaders discussed directions and specific measures to promote bilateral cooperation in fields such as economic, trade, investment, adaptation to climate change, management of water resources, renewable energy, agriculture, maritime economy, oil and gas, and shipbuilding.
The two prime ministers agreed that business, investment and trade would be key areas of cooperation between Vietnam and Norway. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with Norway as one of its four members, is nearing the final stages of negotiations on a free trade agreement with Vietnam. The two sides have reaffirmed their commitment to reach a comprehensive free trade agreement between Vietnam and Norway, through the EFTA.
Vietnam and Norway are two economies that can complement each other. Vietnam is accelerating its comprehensive integration into the world, while Norway is boosting free trade and persifying its relations with regional and global partners.
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Norway reached US$307.8 million in 2014, a rise of 28 percent compared with 2013. Key Vietnamese exports to Norway included footwear, textiles and garments, consumer goods, agricultural products and seafood. Norway exported to Vietnam mostly mechanical products, machinery, chemicals, and salmon.
By the end of this February, Norway ranked 37th among 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 30 investment projects ongoing in the country with total registered capital of US$121 million. Currently, about 40 Norwegian businesses are operational in Vietnam, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Hanoi, Khanh Hoa, Binh Duong, and Hai Phong. Their operations are concentrated on shipping, seafood, oil and gas, clean energy, environment, information technology and telecommunications - fields in which Norway has advantages and which Vietnam prioritizes. Most Norwegian investment projects in Vietnam are fully invested by Norwegian businesses.
Great potential for cooperation
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that Norway wanted to tighten cooperation with Vietnam and become a reliable economic partner for Vietnam. Leaders of the two countries have built a roadmap for expanding bilateral cooperation and trade. Prime Minister Solberg expected bilateral trade would increase, especially after a free trade agreement between Vietnam and four EFTA member countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) is signed.
“Through the Vietnamese community in Norway, we can maintain and boost bilateral exchanges at all levels to promote trade and investment between the business communities of the two countries,” she said.
At a recent meeting with the media, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Siren Gjerme Eriksen said that both Norway and Vietnam were countries with long coastlines, so the potential for bilateral cooperation in the field of shipping, oil and gas, and seafood is great.
By Nguyen Huong