15:27 | 30/06/2018 Cooperation
(VEN) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the Group of Seven (G7) Outreach Summit while on an official visit to Canada from June 8-10 at the invitation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This is the second time Vietnam has been invited to attend the G7 Outreach Summit as a guest country.
Expecting new investments
At a Vietnam-Canada Business Roundtable, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his belief that the favorable business environment created by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will generate a new wave of investments from Canada in Vietnam once the deal is ratified. PM Phuc pointed out Vietnam’s record economic indicators, such as high growth of 6.81 percent, export-import turnover reaching US$425 billion, and foreign investment of over US$37 billion in 2017. Vietnam’s purchasing power averages US$6,800 expanding its consumer markets, while the business environment and national competitiveness have improved. Foreign associations such as EuroCham, JETRO, AmCham and Kocham consider Vietnam a priority investment destination in ASEAN. Many transnational corporations choose Vietnam as a strategic manufacturing hub to connect to global supply chains.
Some 64 million Vietnamese are internet users, ranking the country sixth in Asia and 12th in the world. The number of smartphone users has grown strongly and Vietnam is promoting a digital economy, said PM Phuc, calling on Canadian investors to become active partners in this development process.
Vietnam and Canada are among the 11 nations that signed the CPTPP in March. Accordingly, Vietnam commits to eliminating nearly 100 percent of its tariff lines, of which 65.8 percent will be marked down to zero immediately upon the CPTPP coming into force, creating favorable conditions for Canada’s major export items to Vietnam, including salmon, beef and lobster.
PM Phuc said Vietnam is speeding up economic restructuring, especially of state-owned enterprises, including important ones in the fields of aviation, electricity, oil and gas, telecommunications and transport infrastructure.
Growth only with environmental protection
At the G7 Outreach Summit, PM Phuc delivered a message on the significance of enhanced international cooperation in combating climate change, and proposed an initiative to establish an expanded cooperation forum between the G7 countries and coastal nations to combat climate change and sea level rise, and protect marine ecology. The forum would establish collaboration, share experience, transfer technologies and mobilize resources for climate change adaptation and response.
Vietnam’s development direction and strategy, he said, targets strong development of the sea-based economy coupled with the protection of the environment and the marine ecosystem. The country is determined not to sacrifice the environment for economic growth, encouraging clean and renewable energy, green growth and sustainable development, and preventing waste release that pollutes the marine environment, PM Phuc pledged. He welcomed Canada’s initiative to prevent disposing of plastic waste into oceans, stressing that Vietnam is ready to cooperate with Canada and countries on this initiative.
He also proposed the G7 countries promote the formation of a global cooperation mechanism for reducing plastic garbage with the goal of oceans free of plastic waste. Vietnam has proposed a regional project for an ocean free of plastic waste that is applauded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF).
He applauded the G7 countries’ support for ASEAN’s common stance on the East Sea issue, urging enhanced cooperation to ensure security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation, as well as to resolve disputes peacefully based on international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Tightening strategic links
PM Phuc had separate bilateral meetings with leaders of several G7 nations and guest countries, as well as international organizations attending the summit.
At the meeting with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria, PM Phuc reaffirmed the Vietnamese government’s strong determination to undertake reforms. He also asked for assistance from the OECD in policy consultation and experience sharing in key areas to help Vietnam effectively build and implement socioeconomic development strategies. Secretary-General Gurria committed to working closely with Vietnam, helping the country enhance economic productivity and competitiveness.
At the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the two leaders shared the view that the two countries need to make efforts to ratify and implement the CPTPP soon in order to benefit both sides and the whole region. At another meeting, PM Phuc and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to boost the effectiveness of cooperation mechanisms, promote dialogue on strategic and security-defense issues, and coordinate measures to foster trade and investment partnerships. France is now a leading economic partner of Vietnam in Europe.
PM Phuc also met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, the World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
PM Phuc’s visit to Canada marked the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The visit contributed to enhancing Vietnam’s position on the international stage and further promoting the Vietnam-Canada comprehensive partnership. Vietnam is currently Canada’s largest trading partner in ASEAN. Two-way trade in 2017 reached nearly US$5 billion. Canada has 149 active investment projects in Vietnam, with total capital of US$4.1 billion, ranking 14th among the 112 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.