Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) – The diplomatic sector will continue fostering political relations to provide optimal conditions for the development of economic-trade ties, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.

In the TV programme “People ask, Ministers answer” aired on January 3, he said economic diplomacy is one of the three pillars of diplomacy, alongside political and cultural diplomacy.

The foreign ministry and its overseas representative agencies have actively supported enterprises and localities in promoting relations with partners and countries through investment and trade forums.

He cited the ministry’s assistance to the military-run telecommunication group Viettel to invest in many countries, including African nations, as an example, adding that high-ranking leaders’ visits to foreign countries were also chances for Vietnamese firms to advertise their products.

Political connections will be strengthened in 2016 so as to facilitate economic-trade relations, attract foreign investment and official development assistance (ODA), and encourage other nations’ opening of their markets, Minh stressed.

He added that his ministry will also support businesses in exploring cooperation opportunities with foreign partners.

With regard to the ASEAN Community, which officially took shape on December 31, 2015, the official said the biggest opportunity to be created is a peaceful and stable environment and a common economic and trade area with a single production base.

All people, regardless of producers or consumers, can benefit from a common market with a 625 million-strong population and a combined annual GDP of 2.6 trillion USD.

However, big chances are accompanied by numerous challenges and fierce competition, he noted, underlining people and enterprises’ insufficient awareness of the ASEAN Community, which could expose Vietnam to a risk of missing the opportunities.-VNA