Visitors to a Vietnamese Goods Week in Thailand (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Efforts by Vietnam’s overseas representative agencies over recent years have helped to strengthen the country’s trade and investment ties with partners around the globe, senior diplomats have said.

On the sidelines of the ongoing 30th Diplomatic Conference in Hanoi, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh explained that his embassy has not only continued to organise events to promote trade, investment, tourism, and aviation, but also directly helped to remove obstacles blocking trading activities between the two countries. It has encouraged Indian firms to invest in Vietnam and assisted them in addressing any difficulties they may face, he added.

As a result, Indian investment in Vietnam over the last three years has grown at a faster pace than in the previous period. As of April 2018, there had been 182 valid Indian investment projects, worth a total of 816 million USD and placing the country 28th amongst those countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Connectivity plays a central role in economic exchange, he stressed, adding that it will initially bring direct benefits to tourism. India’s outbound tourists have increased sharply recently, at about 22 million people each year at present – a figure hoped to reach 50 million in the near future.

In 2017, more than 3.5 million Indian tourists visited Southeast Asia, including 110,000 to Vietnam – a rise from 85,000 in 2016. The number of Indian arrivals in Vietnam is expected to hit 150,000 this year. If further direct air routes are opened, this figure may hit 300,000 annually, he noted.

In recent years, the embassy has made efforts to improve the two countries’ connectivity, particularly in terms of transport by air – including meetings with Indian airline firms and encouraging Vietnamese carriers to open direct flights to India. As a result, Vietjet Air announced that it will open a direct route from Ho Chi Minh City to New Delhi this October. Meanwhile, Indian carrier IndiGo also plans to launch a direct air route to Vietnam next year, Thanh said.

In South Africa, the Vietnamese Embassy has worked hard to promote economic diplomacy – one of the three pillars of diplomacy, according Ambassador Vu Van Dung. He noted that they have supported market expansion in order to help maintain bilateral trade at over 1 billion USD in the context of local and global economic slowdown.

He elaborated that over the past few years, the embassy has also actively coordinated with local agencies to organise and take part in an array of events – including the Southern African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX), the trade and investment promotion workshop of Vinh Phuc province, and the ASEAN-Africa Business Expo – in big South African economic hubs like Johannesburg and Cape Town, solidifying the connection between the two business circles.

In terms of the Vietnam-Malaysia relations, bilateral cooperation and friendship have been consolidated along many different dimensions, including culture, economy, politics and diplomacy, and defence and security, according to Ambassador Le Quy Quynh.

Quynh said his embassy has worked hard to step up multifaceted ties and is pleased with the Malaysia-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce’s establishment in January 2017 and its official debut in November the same year to help connect Malaysian enterprises with Vietnamese partners.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is one of the main ASEAN trade partners of Spain, Ambassador Ngo Tien Dung noted, adding that the Vietnamese community and embassy there have acted as a bridge, helping to develop bilateral connections.

He said that two-way trade has risen by some 15 percent each year over the last decade to surpass 3 billion USD in 2017. Both sides expect this figure to reach 5 billion USD by 2020. The European nation is also looking to create further business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region with other countries.

Vietnam and Spain will celebrate 10 years of their strategic partnership in 2019. Therefore, pushing ahead with meetings and mutual visits at all levels and between businesses is a practical measure to tap into enormous cooperation chances and potential, thus contributing to the development and common interests of both countries, the diplomat said. –VNA