The Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia, Andrus Ansip, will pay an official visit to Vietnam from Nov. 5-7 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The visit, which is the first to Vietnam by an Estonian PM since the European country declared independence in 1991, aims to implement Estonia ’s policies to expand and strengthen ties with Asian countries, including Vietnam .

The visit also represents Estonia ’s wish to develop the traditional friendship with Vietnam , speed up the signing of cooperative documents in the fields of economics, education and science, as well as seek opportunities for Estonian businesses.

The two sides will discuss regional and international issues to enhance their coordination at multilateral forums.

With a population of nearly 1.3 million, Estonia is a market economy and one of the countries recording high per-capita incomes in Central Europe and Baltic Sea region with 19,000 USD in 2010.

Vietnam and Estonia have established a traditional friendship since the latter was still part of the Soviet Union . Vietnam early recognised Estonia ’s independence and on February 20, 1992, the two sides signed a protocol on establishment of diplomatic ties at ambassador-level but they are yet to open embassies.

The two sides have implemented an annual deputy foreign minister-level political consultation mechanism since 2008.

Despite recent developments, two-way trade between Vietnam and Estonia remains modest with 10.75 million USD in 2010 and nearly 11.5 million USD in the first eight months of this year.

Vietnam mainly exports seafood, fruit and vegetables, cashew nuts, coffee, plastic products, wood products and garment to Estonia while importing milk, chemicals and rubber from this country.

To date, Estonia has not yet had any FDI project in Vietnam .

Vietnam and Estonia signed an agreement on investment encouragement and protection in New York on September 24, 2009. However, the agreement is yet to come into effect.

The two countries see great potential for cooperation in electronics, telecommunications, agriculture, education, tourism, energy and transport./.