Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a political consultation mechanism between the two foreign ministries (Source: VNA)
Lisbon (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva discussed a range of specific measures to boost relations between Vietnam and Portugal during their talks in Lisbon on May 26. 

The ministers stressed the need to increase political consultations and coordination between the two foreign ministries and to set up cooperation mechanisms to enhance bilateral relations in all fields, particularly in economy, trade and investment, with a view to raising the two-way trade value from 350 million USD to 1 billion USD in 2020. 

The two sides also agreed to strengthen their coordination at regional and international forums such as the UN, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the EU-ASEAN. 

Minh thanked Portugal for its early ratification of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU. He suggested the Portuguese Government and leaders support and urge the EU to early sign and approve the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement EVFTA, saying that the deals would create favourable conditions for cooperative relations between Vietnam and the EU in general and Portugal in particular to develop sustainably.

The Vietnamese official also took this occasion to call on Portuguese businesses to increase their investments in Vietnam, especially in the fields the two sides can support each other such as maritime economy, navigation, electronic components, tourism and renewable energy. 

Host and guest agreed to deploy the memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation reached by the two countries in 2015 and step up cooperation in education-training as well as cultural exchange. 

Minh suggested the Portuguese Government assist the Portuguese Department of Hanoi University and provide Portuguese language scholarships for Vietnamese students. 

Regarding regional and international issues of mutual concern, the two ministers stressed the importance of peace, stability as well as maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom and expressed their concern over recent developments in the East Sea. 

Minh called on Portugal, in its capacity as an EU member, to back the stance of ASEAN and Vietnam on the settlement of disputes in the East Sea by peaceful measures and on the basis of respecting international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon finalising a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Following the talks, the two officials witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a political consultation mechanism between the two foreign ministries, and another on training and information-document exchange between the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The same day, Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh held a working session with Portuguese Minister of Economy Manuel Caldeira Cabral, during which the Vietnamese official suggested the two sides tie up with each other in such areas as maritime economy and transportation, infrastructure and renewable energy. 

Vietnam wants to increase exports to Portugal and stands ready to welcome Portuguese firms to invest in and export products to the country, he noted. 

Caldeira Cabral said Vietnam and Portugal have a lot of opportunities to push up economic, trade and investment ties, saying the two countries should accelerate the implementation of inked agreements, including the deal in tourism. 

The Portuguese Government encourages its enterprises to operate in Vietnam, he said, adding that Portugal supports the signing and approval of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement.-VNA