Irish President begins State visit to Vietnam hinh anh 1 Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his spouse Sabina Higgins were welcomed at Noi Bai International Airport (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his spouse Sabina Higgins have started a State-level visit to Vietnam at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse.

The visit aims to further enhance ties between Ireland and Vietnam, especially in trade, investment, development cooperation and education-training.

Vietnam and Ireland have made strides in cooperation since their diplomatic relationship was set up on April 5, 1996. They have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations and coordinated at international forums.

Bilateral trade reached 402 million USD in 2015, up 28 percent from the previous year. It hit 798 million USD in the first nine months of 2016, rising three-fold year on year, including 82 million USD of Vietnamese exports.

Vietnam mainly ships timber and wood products, footwear and garments to Ireland while importing medicine materials, computers and electronic components.

Ireland currently has 17 investment projects with combined capital of 20.7 million USD in Vietnam, ranking 67th among 115 countries and territories investing here.

Vietnam is the only Asian nation among nine priority recipients of Ireland’s development assistance. Ireland gave 150 million USD in non-refundable aid to Vietnam between 2007 and 2016, focusing on poverty reduction, support for vulnerable groups, and improving economic management.

In November 2011, Ireland announced a national strategy for the two countries’ development cooperation for 2011-2015 that aimed to assist the realisation of the Vietnamese Government’s socio-economic development plan for the five-year period. The Irish Government is expected to reveal a similar national strategy for 2017-2020 soon.-VNA