HCM City (VNA) – Right after Vietnam became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, Ho Chi Minh City has carried out a line-up of activities to bolster trade, investment, culture and people diplomacy cooperation with ASEAN member states, playing an important role in the Vietnam-ASEAN relations.

The southern economic hub was a pioneer in trade promotion activities in ASEAN countries, holding annual trade fairs in Cambodia, Myanmar, and investment-tourism events in Thailand and Malaysia. The city has become important trade partners of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, with two-way trade with those nations enjoying stable growth through years.
Last month, an expo was held in the city, bringing chances to ASEAN businesses and Ho Chi Minh City to seek trade and investment opportunities and introduce products in each other’s market.

HCM City also attracted a large amount of investment capital from ASEAN countries. As of the end of 2017, ASEAN members registered nearly 16 billion USD in 1,500 projects in the city, with Singapore and Malaysia among the leading foreign investors.

As the largest city in southern Vietnam and a cultural centre of the country, HCM City is also active in promoting social and cultural ties with ASEAN members, contributing to building the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. 

The city has established friendship ties with six localities in ASEAN countries, which are Manila (the Philippines), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Vientiane (Laos), Champasak (Laos), Yangon (Myanmar), and Bangkok (Thailand).

Diplomatic and cultural activities have help popularise the city and the country’s images to international friends, thus, tightening the friendship and creating opportunities to attract investment in various sectors. Such notable events as the festival “Ho Chi Minh City- Integration and Development” organised since 2013, and the annual International Travel Expo have helped enhance mutual understanding, solidarity and collaboration between the city and ASEAN localities.

Furthermore, a vibrant Ho Chi Minh City has been illustrated through many other cultural events on occasions such as anniversaries of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and ASEAN member states.

The city has also hosted many major events of ASEAN like 4th ASEAN Chief Justices’ Meeting, and ASEAN Law Association’s 38th Governing Council Meeting.

In mid-April, the city hosted the 2018 Culture and Trade Exchange Programme among ASEAN member countries themed “for an ASEAN Economic Community’s development and prosperity”, showing the city’s commitment to building a competitive, innovative and active community.

Together with the other two big cities of Hanoi and Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City is a founding member of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network Initiative, reflecting the city’s determination to build a common ecosystem in ASEAN in which digital technology is deployed to improve livelihoods of urban residents.

Regarding people-to-people diplomacy, the city has carried out an array of programmes to tighten friendly ties with ASEAN countries, according to Phan Thi Hong Xuan, Chairwoman of the Vietnam-Southeast Asia Friendship Association in Ho Chi Minh City.

Most of the cooperative activities have focused on connecting young people in ASEAN through cultural conferences, youth contests, and friendship activities between universities.

With such activities, the city has contributed to building dynamic, effectively and strong linkages among ASEAN nations that benefit all concerned parties as well as to a prosperous ASEAN Community in the future.-VNA