Illustration Photo: State President Truong Tan Sang ​met visiting Cuban Politburo member and Vice President of the Council of State Salvador Valdes Mesa, in Hanoi in May ​2015. (Photo: VNA)

President Truong Tan Sang will pay an official visit to Cuba from September 28-30 at the invitation of Cuban President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers Raul Castro.

The visit will take place in the context that the two countries are celebrating their 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (December 2, 1960-2015).

Over the past 55 years, the bilateral comprehensive cooperation and solidarity has continually developed. Cuba was a pioneer in the international movement to support Vietnam’s past struggle for national liberation and currently pays significant attention to boosting multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam, particularly in agriculture, education, health, bio-technology, transport and sports.

Senior visits have been organised regularly, including the trips to Cuba by Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in 2007, President Nguyen Minh Triet in 2009, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong in 2010, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2012 and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2014.

Meanwhile, visits to Vietnam have been made by Cuba’s President Fidel Castro in 2003, Vice President Raul Castro in 2005, Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon in 2007, President Raul Castro and Vice President of the Council of Ministers Marino Murillo Jorge in 2012, and First Vice President of the State Council and Council of Ministers Miguel Diaz Canel in 2013.

Bilateral trade has also increased from 175 million USD in 2012 to 200 million USD in 2014. Vietnam mainly exports rice and consumer goods to Cuba while buying medicine and biological products from the country.

Following Cuba’s changes in its economic, investment and management policies, Vietnamese businesses are paying attention to investment in the Caribbean nation. Several companies have invested in tourism infrastructure, construction materials and detergent.

Vietnam has provided assistance to Cuba’s agriculture through household-based rice, maize, soybean farming and aquaculture projects. The two countries are also working on telecom cooperation between Vietnam’s military-run Viettel group and Cuba’s state-run telecom company Etecsa.

Huge potential remains to boost bilateral trade, offering chances for Vietnamese enterprises to seek investment opportunities in Cuba in construction, energy and food processing.

In addition, defence-security, education-training, medicine-pharmaceuticals, culture and science-technology are also priorities in their bilateral cooperation.-VNA