Ten foreign relations highlights of 2016

08:21 | 25/01/2017 Events

(VEN) - Vietnam’s participation in 14 new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) is expected to create a new wave of integration, requiring the country to undergo stronger reforms. Vietnam has become one of the world’s most active economies in international integration. The FTA between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union, which took effect in October, promises Vietnam big export and investment opportunities.

1. Vietnam’s participation in 14 new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) is expected to create a new wave of integration, requiring the country to undergo stronger reforms.

Vietnam has become one of the world’s most active economies in international integration. The FTA between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union, which took effect in October, promises Vietnam big export and investment opportunities.

2. US President Barack Obama paid an official visit to Vietnam in May. Apart from meetings and discussions with Vietnamese leaders, he made an important speech on Vietnam-US relations.

During the visit, President Obama announced the US decision to fully lift its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam. This decision marked a turning point in the relationship between the two countries, contributing to enhancing and deepening the mutual strategic trust in order to promote a substantial comprehensive partnership.

3. A series of multilateral diplomatic events took place from October 24-26, including the seventh Ayeyawady-Chao Phray-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMEC7), the eighth Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Cooperation Summit (CLMV 8), and the World Economic Forum on the Mekong Region (WEF-Mekong).

4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with The prestigious British magazine The Economist, held an event on November 2 and 3 entitled “Vietnam Summit 2016” in Ho Chi Minh City.

Attendants included Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders of relevant ministries, sectors and governmental agencies.

The event was aimed at promoting Vietnam’s image, investment environment, potential and prospects among the international business community.

5. On November 3, Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao was elected by United Nations member countries as a member of the International Law Commission.

He is the first Vietnamese citizen and diplomat to be elected to an important UN body.

6. From December 8-9, an APEC Informal Senior Officials Meeting (ISOM) and related activities took place in Hanoi to prepare for APEC Year 2017 themed “Creating a new driving force for a common future”.

Four priority goals have been set for the year-long events: promoting sustainable, creative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic linkages; enhancing the competitiveness and creativity of very small, small and medium businesses; and boosting food security and sustainable agriculture, coping with climate change.

This will be the second time Vietnam hosts an APEC Summit (the first was in 2006).

7. On December 9, the Vietnam Development Forum 2016 (VDF 2016) themed “A constructive and action-oriented government – New driving force for development” took place in Hanoi.

Leading experts on international affairs presented their opinions and recommendations on major issues of great concern to the Vietnamese government.

8. The government issued Decision 1969/QD-TTg providing an action plan for the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The TFA was adopted by WTO member states at the ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia in December 2014, and is expected to take effect in early 2017.

This important agreement is designed to boost international trade and reduce time and money required to carry out cross-border trade transactions.

9. Foreign investment yielded record results. From the beginning of the year until December 26, Vietnam attracted 2,556 new foreign direct investment projects with total registered capital of US$15.18 billion.

In addition to money inflows for ongoing projects, capital contributions and stock purchases, foreign investment in Vietnam reached a total of US$24.4 billion, a rise of seven percent compared with 2015.

Some US$15.8 billion was disbursed, up nine percent compared with 2015.

10. Vietnam welcomed more than 10 million foreign tourists, a record number that far exceeded expectations.

VIETNAM ECONOMIC NEWS