Columbian Chargé d'affaires Claudia Zambrano (R), flanked by an interpreter, speaks at the working session with Son La authorities (Photo: VNA)   

Son La (VNA) – Foreign female diplomats to Vietnam expressed their hope for stronger cooperation with Son La province while visiting this northern mountainous locality on December 12.

National Assembly (NA) Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong and several NA deputies also joined the delegation.

At a working session with the delegation, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Hoang Van Chat introduced that Son La has always strived to manage and effectively capitalise on investment. It has created the best possible environment for 55 hydropower plants to operate. Their electricity output is estimated at 11.9 billion kWh at present, accounting for 7.39 percent of Vietnam’s total production.

Many strides have also been made in local agriculture, he said, noting that 41 Son La-based businesses and cooperatives have had 86 agricultural products certified with the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice (VietGAP). About 13,150 local families have planted 12,400 hectares of coffee and they have built a brand of organic Arabica coffee, he noted.

Speaking highly of the province’s socio-economic development potential, the foreign diplomats said they are impressed by the local budget revenue this year, 3.89 trillion VND (nearly 172 million USD) – up 600 billion VND (over 26,500 USD) from 2015. Its gross regional domestic product growth rate is estimated to reach over 9 percent despite impacts of the severe cold spell in the beginning of 2016.

They said they expect to cooperate extensively with the Vietnamese Government in general and Son La in particular, especially in sustainable agricultural development, education, and skilled labour in order to raise local residents’ income and the province’s competitiveness.

NA Vice Chairwoman Phong thanked the female diplomats for their interest, asking Son La authorities to provide favourable conditions for foreign investments, including those in education, hydropower and agricultural export.

She hoped that with the Columbian Government’s cooperation, local coffee will be exported to other countries in the near future. She also asked the Australian Government to grant more scholarships to students at the Tay Bac University, based in Son La, particularly to female students with disadvantaged backgrounds and of ethnic minorities.-VNA