08:33 | 18/09/2016 Cooperation
(VEN) - The state-level visit to Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Singapore from August 26-30 by State President Tran Dai Quang contributed to tightening Vietnam’s friendly relations with the two countries in the Southeast Asian region, giving an impetus to cooperation in all fields, especially economic, trade, and investment relations.
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang (left) talks with his Singaporean counterpart Tony Tan Keng Yam - Photos: Vietnam News Agency
Increasing Vietnam-Brunei trade
President Quang’s visit to Brunei reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy to deepen bilateral cooperation for mutual benefits.
During the visit, President Quang and the Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, made a joint statement highlighting the importance of boosting bilateral cooperation. The two sides affirmed their commitments to increase economic cooperation towards the goal of raising bilateral trade to US$500 million by 2025, creating new investment and business opportunities between the two countries.
Although bilateral trade remains modest, Brunei has become a potential investor and reliable trading partner for Vietnam. Statistics show that in the first six months of this year, trade between the two countries reached US$17 million, including US$8.4 million worth of Vietnamese exports to Brunei (mostly seafood and rice), and US$8.7 million worth of Brunei’s exports to Vietnam (mostly chemicals).
President Quang affirmed that Vietnam encourages Brunei’s businesses to invest in Vietnam in fields where they have advantages and Vietnam has demand, such as energy, oil and gas, finance, real estate, relaxation tourism, and infrastructure development. He believes there is room for the two sides to expand trade cooperation. Vietnam wants to export more agricultural products, seafood, electronic products, and consumer goods to Brunei and increase petrochemical imports from this market.
In this spirit, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic and trade cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam. The MoU will promote cooperation between the two ministries in trade promotion, energy, Halal products, and business connection, affirming their wish to cooperate through multilateral economic and trade forums in the region and the world, such as ASEAN, RCEP, APEC, and TPP.
Vietnam, Singapore expand economic cooperation
Following the visit to Brunei, President Quang and the accompanying delegation visited Singapore at the invitation of Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
In his talk with President Quang, President Tony Tan affirmed that Singaporean businesses proved very satisfied with the business and investment environment in Vietnam, and that Singapore would continue expanding economic cooperation with Vietnam. Singapore is willing to assist Vietnam in fulfilling its 2017 APEC Chairmanship role through joint initiatives for common interests. With regard to the TPP, Singapore agreed to offer more technical support and help enhance capabilities for Vietnamese officials.
The two sides believed the visit would significantly contribute to the effective development of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Singapore in the coming time.
Investment and trade cooperation has become a pillar of Vietnam-Singapore relations. Currently, Singapore is Vietnam’s third largest trading partner in ASEAN. Data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade show that bilateral trade grew about 12 percent in just two years, 2014 and 2015. Major Vietnamese agricultural exports to Singapore such as fruit and vegetables, coffee, and pepper have grown 19.5 percent annually in recent years. In the first four months of this year, bilateral trade reached nearly US$2.5 billion, including US$1.8 billion worth of Vietnamese imports from Singapore and US$703.5 million worth of exports to this market.
Singapore currently has 1,643 investment projects ongoing in Vietnam with total registered capital of more than US$37.9 billion, ranking third among 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Singaporean investment in Vietnam is concentrated on real estate, processing industry, manufacturing, and construction. Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, and Quang Ngai have shown effective operations and become a symbol of cooperation between the two countries.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Brunei’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng sign an MoU on economic and trade cooperation
In the framework of the visit, President Quang addressed a Vietnam-Singapore business forum and met some Singaporean companies having large investment projects in Vietnam. On this occasion, the two sides signed new cooperation agreements, including a deal under which the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation would purchase 7.73 percent of stocks worth approximately US$385 million of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, and an MoU on cooperation between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation.