09:49 | 20/12/2019 Cooperation
(VEN) - Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially established diplomatic relation in 1993. In the ensuing years, significant achievements have been recorded in diplomatic, economic and other aspects of the relationship. Vietnam Economic News’ Thanh Tam discussed the progress in bilateral ties with His Excellency Obaid Saeed Bintaresh Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Vietnam.
|His Excellency Obaid Saeed Bintaresh Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Vietnam|
UAE-Vietnam trade and investment relations have become an important pillar, alongside the fine relationships in politics, diplomacy, culture consolidated and developed over the past decades. Could you elaborate on that point?
After more than 25 years of diplomatic relations, Vietnam and UAE are considered key economic partners in Southeast Asia and the Middle East thanks to their open economic policies.
Bilateral trade and investment have been developed rapidly, with the two countries becoming mutual strategic partners in trade and economy. The non-oil trade balance reached more than US$8.2 billion in 2018, which represents 34 percent of the total non-oil trade between the UAE and ASEAN countries. The UAE is considered Vietnam’s top trading partner in the Middle East region, including the GCC and Africa.
Over the past two decades, the UAE has also been acknowledged as one of the leading foreign investors in Vietnam, and we are confident that this trading and investment relationship will continue to grow stronger.
UAE businesses have been investing in infrastructure, real estate, sea ports, oil and gas, tourism and services in Vietnam, while Vietnamese businesses have been investing in wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair and real state.
The UAE is a gateway for Vietnam to penetrate the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Meanwhile, Vietnam is an important gateway for the UAE to Southeast Asia and the Far East region. Definitely, the two countries have much potential to boost cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, metallurgy, ship repair, petro-chemistry, chemicals, mechanics and manufacturing.
Could you please share with Vietnamese investors and business people the investment, business environment and infrastructure facilities available for them to better access the UAE market, especially ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai next April?
During the process of its development, the UAE has gained high rankings in various global indicators. The country has been ranked at the top in terms of the high quality of infrastructure. It is ranked top in the Middle East and North Africa and 11th globally in the World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business report, even higher than some countries in Europe and Asia. The UAE passport has been recognized as the most powerful passport among 176 countries by the Passport Index report 2019.
These achievements have made the UAE an ideal destination for investment, commerce, tourism and employment promotion. The UAE has become an important center of the Islamic economy in the world. It was selected to host the World Islamic Economic Forum, the World Energy Summit 2019 and Expo 2020 Dubai, where Vietnam will have a well-placed pavilion in the fair’s Opportunity District.
As an open economy, the UAE has provided a safe and stable environment for foreign investments in all economic sectors. Vietnamese businesses will therefore have more opportunities to enter the UAE market and benefit from many factors, such as a safe investment environment marked by stability, modern infrastructure, effective economic policies, and modern economic legislation. In addition, flexible laws that encourage foreign investors are available in different sectors.
Moreover, the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 60 percent in the last 10 years, at an annual growth rate of 4.7 percent on average, as a result of its successful policies on economic diversification and expansion of economic productivity. The UAE is classified as a high income country, which contributed to the increase in purchasing power of citizens and expatriates in the country. The increase in the population and the multiple patterns of consumption due to the diversity of the population structure make for an attractive consumer market.
In addition, the UAE offers low fees and easy customs procedures, with import duties set at five percent, one of the lowest rates in the world. This, along with the ease of importing goods, is one of the factors that helps encourage and increase the flow rate of imports to the state.
The UAE Year of Tolerance 2019 featured impressive events marked at home and abroad, including in Vietnam. Can you share with our readers some projects and activities initiated by the Embassy benefitting women, children and religious communities in difficult circumstances?
We started our activities in March 2019 by opening the Sheikh Zayed Library in the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures at Hanoi National University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS).
In May, the Embassy donated items to children hospitalized at the Vietnam Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in order to support them and their families in the treatment process.
The Embassy conducted various charity projects for Muslims in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh, An Giang and other provinces.
In September 2019, the Embassy coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations to successfully celebrate the Year of Tolerance with a view to highlighting the UAE’s role as a global capital of tolerance. We were proud to have representatives from the Government, diplomatic missions, international organizations, religious communities, universities and the private sector.
The Embassy was honored at a solemn ceremony to celebrate Vietnamese Women’s Day in October 2019 and presented awards honoring 10 innovative products by women residents of the capital.
The Embassy was also delighted to visit and share with students interesting information on museums and cultural landmarks in the UAE at two presentations delivered at Hanoi National University of Languages and International Studies and Hanoi University of Culture.
Thank you Excellency Ambassador for your valuable time.