Norway-Vietnam economic cooperation: Shining prospects

15:09 | 23/06/2016 Cooperation

(VEN) - To mark Norway’s National Day on May 17, and the 45th year of Norwegian-Vietnamese diplomatic relations, Vietnam Economic News’ Thu Hang interviewed Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Siren Gjerme Eriksen.

Norway-Vietnam economic cooperation: Shining prospects

What do you think of the prospects for Norway-Vietnam economic relations?

Bilateral trade between Norway and Vietnam has grown continuously over the last decade. The two sides have shown mutual interest in fields such as navigation, marine economy, information technology, and clean technology. The rapid growth of the Vietnamese economy as well as the fact that Vietnam has become a middle-income country has opened new aspects for bilateral cooperation.

Official Norwegian statistics show that Norway imported US$112.7 million worth of Vietnamese products and exported about US$8.6 million worth of goods to Vietnam in the first quarter of this year. Last year, Norway spent more than US$335.3 million on imports from Vietnam, mostly including textiles and garments, footwear, wood furniture, and cashew nuts, and exported US$213.4 million worth of seafood, machinery, instruments, spare parts, fertilizers, chemicals, iron and steel to Vietnam. Although both Norway and Vietnam are fish and seafood exporters, Norway can help Vietnam promote sustainable aquaculture.

Looking at the good relationship between the two countries as well as the growth of the Vietnamese economy and the reforms Vietnam has made, I believe economic relations between our two countries have bright prospects.

Could you share progress in the negotiations on the free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Vietnam? What do you think the Norwegian and Vietnamese economies can expect from this agreement?

Negotiations on the FTA between the EFTA consisting of Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland and Vietnam began in 2012 and are still underway. This is a comprehensive FTA that follows World Trade Organization principles and covers trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, sustainable development, and technology. EFTA’s official website shows that the total value of trade in goods between EFTA member countries and Vietnam reached US$2.17 billion in 2014, a rise of nearly 20 percent compared with 2013.

After it is signed, I believe the FTA will open a lot of opportunities for Norwegian and Vietnamese businesses, promote investment, and create more employment opportunities.

In your opinion what should Vietnamese businesses do to access distribution chains in the Norwegian market?

Good knowledge of foreign markets and their regulations is an important factor to the success of businesses when they operate overseas.

Last year the Norwegian government launched a national action plan on business and human rights, setting expectations for Norwegian companies and identifying the types of support they could receive from state authorities.

Vietnam is becoming a destination for a growing number of Norwegian tourists. A variety of Vietnamese consumer goods are on sale in Norway, including telephones, clothing, and furniture.