At the event (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The 18th national conference on external affairs, which took place in Hanoi on August 21, laid emphasis on economic integration as the focus of localities’ external relation work.

Addressing the event, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of External Affairs Nguyen Thanh Long said localities have well implemented bilateral cooperation as well as inter-regional and inter-provincial mechanisms with foreign partners.

He noted that provinces and cities nationwide have signed 119 agreements with foreign partner localities, along with 230 MoUs on cooperation with overseas businesses and organisations, thus mobilizing substantial resources for local development.

As a result of effective economic diplomatic efforts, the total foreign direct investment in Vietnam hit 51.53 billion USD, with several billion-USD projects in Thai Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong and Khanh Hoa.

Nearly 300 million USD funded by non-governmental organisations is disbursed nationwide each year.

Cooperation with localities in other countries has also opened up business opportunities in hi-tech agriculture, renewable energy and climate change response.

Over the past two years, provinces and cities have coordinated with the Foreign Ministry to campaign successfully for UNESCO’s recognition of 10 cultural heritages. The localities have also licensed more than 1,100 foreign reporters to cover Vietnam’s socio-economic developments, and attracted remittances worth over 26 billion USD.

Nearly 3,600 firms run by overseas Vietnamese are operating in 52 out of 63 cities and provinces, predominantly in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Tho, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Hai Phong, Nghe An, Long An and An Giang.

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, for his part, said the city has actively worked with Foreign Ministry and representative Vietnamese agencies overseas to improve the efficiency of global integration.

Director Nguyen Thanh Long underscored the role of Vietnamese representative agencies abroad in promoting economic integration of localities back home, saying that they should serve as a bridge to help localities connect with foreign partners.

He also urged local governments to maintain close ties with the Foreign Ministry and representative Vietnamese agencies abroad.-VNA