Morocco – Vietnam’s priority partner in North Africa: top legislator hinh anh 1National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (left) and Morocco’s Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani (Photo: VNA)

Rabat (VNA) – Vietnam always attaches importance to developing the friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Africa, and Morocco is the country’s priority partner in North Africa, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has said.

The top legislator made the affirmation at a meeting with Morocco’s Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani in Rabat on March 28 (local time) as part of her official visit to the African country.

Highlighting the close ties between Vietnam and Morocco during the past struggles for national liberation, Ngan said the two countries have responsibility for passing down the friendship to their young generations.

Ngan briefed her host on Vietnam’s socio-economic development in 2018, with economic growth rate at 7.08 percent and the stable macro economy.

Vietnam has also integrated intensively and extensively into the world, she said, adding that the country has signed and implemented 12 free trade agreements (FTAs) and is negotiating four others, both multilaterally and bilaterally.

In November 2018, the Vietnamese legislature approved the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), she said.

The Vietnamese legislative leader noted that although the political relations between Vietnam and Morocco are developing fruitfully, their economic-trade ties have yet to match their potential and aspirations, with two-way trade reaching only 212.7 million USD last year.

With a population of about 90 million, Vietnam is willing to serve as a gateway for Morocco to enter the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market, the leader stressed.

She lauded joint efforts to accelerate the opening of air routes between the two countries and strengthen cooperation in the banking sector in order to make it easier for enterprises of the two sides to expand investment and business in the future.

Ngan used the occasion to thank Morocco for its support and cooperation with Vietnam at multilateral cooperation mechanisms, saying to narrow the geographical distance, the two countries should cooperate more closely and effectively.

She conveyed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s invitation to the Moroccan PM to soon pay an official visit to Vietnam, and asked the PM to convey the invitation of Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong to King Mohammed VI to pay a State visit to her country.

For his part, the Moroccan PM said Ngan’s visit takes place amidst the thriving bilateral political ties, and suggested the two sides strengthen their economic and cultural relations.

Congratulating Vietnam on socio-economic achievements the country has recorded last year, he said Morocco is also opening up the economy and has signed FTAs with major economies like the US, the EU and many Arabian countries.

The PM said as Morocco is playing an increasingly important role in Africa, the country stands ready to serve as a door for goods from Vietnam and other countries to penetrate Africa.

He urged Vietnam and Morocco to enhance their economic links and sign more agreements to facilitate those links, saying enterprises of the two countries need to step up their connectivity to seek investment and business opportunities.

With political stability, both countries are safe for investors, he said, noting that Morocco has attracted the largest number of foreign investors in Africa.

In tourism, Morocco leads North Africa in terms of  foreign holiday-makers and expects to welcome about 12 million in 2019, he added.

The leader thanked Vietnam for its support to Morocco at international forums as well as at the regional level like cooperation with ASEAN.

The Moroccan Government has great determination to deepen and diversify relations with Vietnam, he said. -VNA