President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson (Source: Internet)
The upcoming visit of President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to Vietnam from November 3-6 at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang aims to strengthen bilateral ties.

Vietnam and Iceland established diplomatic relations in 1973 and the ties have recorded positive development in recent time.

There have been two visits to Iceland by Prime Ministers of Vietnam, by Vo Van Kiet in 1995 and Phan Van Khai in 2002. The Prime Minister of Iceland visited Vietnam once in 2002.

Vietnam-Iceland trade relations remain limited, with two-way trade reaching 6 million USD in 2014. The figure in the first six months of this year valued at 9 million USD.

Vietnam’s main exports to Iceland include wood, textiles, vegetables and fruits, while Iceland ships seafood materials and machinery to Vietnam.

Iceland’s Government approved an aquaculture co-operation programme it would undertake with Vietnam.

The two countries also signed an agreement on double taxation avoidance, a statement of reciprocal benefits facilitating Vietnam-Iceland trade activities, an agreement on investment protection and another on aviation transport.

At present, 1,000 overseas Vietnamese live in Iceland, mainly in the capital city, Reykjavik.

Grimsson’s upcoming visit aims to promote bilateral co-operation, especially in economics, science, technology and education.

The two sides will discuss ways to promote links between their enterprises, expand co-ordination in international forums, and compare their notes on international issues of common concern.

Iceland does not currently have any diplomatic representation in Vietnam.

Located in North Europe with a population of more than 329,000, Iceland focuses on assembly industry and service, software development, biotechnology and banking.

The fishing and processing industry is a spearhead economic sector of Iceland, accounting for over 12 percent of the country’s total GDP. The country boasts the world’s most modern fishing boat fleet, with annual fishing output reaching 1.5 million tonnes.

Aluminum refinement is the most important energy-using industry in Iceland. Hydroelectricity and thermal power are also crucial. The country aims to only use renewable energy by 2050.-VNA