The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston will pay a state-level visit to Vietnam from Nov. 16-19 at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang.

During the first-ever visit by a Canadian Governor General since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 1973, the two sides will discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties in all fields, especially politics, economics, trade, investment, education, labour and culture.

The visit will also represent Canada’s esteem of relations with Vietnam and its wish to enhance the friendship and cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries, including Vietnam.

Vietnam and Canada have enjoyed fine cooperation at international political and economic forums such as the United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), World Trade Organisation (WTO), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and G20, as well as through the Francophone community.

The two countries have conducted a number of mutual visits. In 2008, on the occasion of the 35 th anniversary of diplomatic ties (August 21, 1973-2008), the two countries organised a series of significant activities.

The two sides have regularly engaged in exchanges and active coordination at international and regional forums and the relationship between the two parliaments has been intensified in recent years.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Canada has increased from 121 million USD in 1998 to 1.4 billion USD in 2010. The figure exceeded 960 million USD in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year rise of 18 percent.

Vietnam now ranks 67 th among more than 100 trade partners of Canada. Vietnam mainly exports garment, footwear, agricultural products, seafood, wood and wooden products, bags, umbrellas, computers, electronic products and components, cashew nuts, handicrafts, bikes and ceramics to Canada while importing machinery, equipment, iron and steel, fertiliser, animal feed, auto and garment materials from this North Amercian market.

Canadian investment in Vietnam has increased from 37 projects capitalised at 228 million USD in 2006 to 110 projects worth 4.63 billion USD by August 2011, ranking 13 th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Several large Canadian companies, including Manulife, VinaCapital and Bombardier, have been present in Vietnam and now want to invest more in the Southeast Asian market.

Since 1992, the two countries have signed 32 international treaties which aim to strengthen bilateral ties in such fields as economics, trade, double taxation avoidance, aviation, administrative reform, education, adoption cooperation and a bilateral agreement on Vietnam’s WTO accession.

The two sides have conducted eight rounds of negotiations on an investment encouragement and protection agreement, expected to conclude in the first half of 2012.

Canada highly values Vietnam’s strategy on growth and poverty reduction. While reducing its world aid, Canada has maintained ODA provision for Vietnam, focusing on State management, legal reform, small and medium-sized enterprise development, vocational training, food security, agricultural production and training for farmers.

Since the world is facing impacts from climate change, the two countries agreed to choose climate change as an area of priority in future bilateral ties.

In addition, the two countries have sped up cooperation in other fields, including education and training, labour, science and technology, and tourism. In 2008, Vietnam officially entered the Canadian labour market by sending 28 workers to British Colombia province.

At present, around 250,000 Vietnamese people are living in Canada. The position of the Vietnamese community in Canadian society has been increasing with many well-known scientists and professors in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, atomic energy, chemistry and law./.