Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim (left) Thoa and Czech Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade Jiri Koliba signed the five-year agreement. (Photo: VNA)

Prague (VNA) – Vietnam and the Czech Republic signed an agreement on bilateral cooperation from 2016-2020 during the fifth session of their Intergovernmental Joint Committee in Prague on July 12.

Present at the event were Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Czech Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade Jiri Koliba, both of whom chair their respective sub-committee. They were accompanied by state and ministry representatives and businesses from their countries.

Speaking at the session, the two sides expressed their delight at the development of the long-standing relations between the two nations, particularly in terms of politics. The regular exchange of high-level visits has laid solid foundation for the expanding bilateral cooperation in economics, trade and investment.

The Vietnamese delegation highly appreciated the preferences given to Vietnam by the Czech Republic as part of its international development cooperation policy in the past.

However, the two countries have not yet unleashed the full potential of their economic and trade ties. The Czech Republic currently ranks 40th out of more than 150 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with only 30 investors and over 170 million USD in investment.

Trade between the two countries totalled more than 800 million USD in 2015, equivalent to 0.24 percent of Vietnam’s export-import revenue and 0.22 percent of that of its partner.

The two sides agreed to accelerate cooperation in the fields of mining and energy industry, transportation, education and training, labour and environment protection.

The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Vietnam-Czech Republic Joint Committee was wrapped up with success, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said, noting that it has not only reviewed agreements reached during the fourth session but also drawn up a detail plan for the future implementation.

Meanwhile, Jiri Koliba admitted there are obstacles yet to be unblocked and expressed his hope that this meeting will help the two countries “reactivate” their cooperation process to gain more fruits.

The sixth session of the joint committee is scheduled for Hanoi in early 2018.-VNA