During nearly three decades of renewal, Vietnam has seen strong progress in its multilateral external relations, which has significantly contributed to enhancing status and strength of the country.

According to former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, multilateral foreign policy has opened up a great deal of opportunities for Vietnam .

In the past, it helped the country get out of political isolation and economic blockade, while enabling Vietnam to foster bilateral ties with other nations around the globe, he said.

Thanks to multilateral diplomacy, Vietnam has received remarkable support from the outside, which have remarkably contributed to the country’s socio-economic development, human resources training and internal institutions, the former Deputy PM stated.

Particularly, joining multilateral economic institution, including the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has helped Vietnam expand its market to the biggest-ever scale, he stressed.

At the same time, a great number of officials in all sectors have had opportunities to improve their capacity, knowledge and skills through multilateral diplomatic activities.

The former Deputy PM also pointed to a number of challenges facing Vietnam in carrying out the policy, including the heaps of complicated regulations, principles and procedures in multilateral mechanisms.

In addition, how to ensure a harmony of the country’s participations in different multilateral institutions is also a big issue, he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh stressed the importance of international economic integration in the country’s multilateral external relations.

Initiated in 1986 during the sixth National Congress of the Vietnam Communist Party and intensively sped up since 1990s, economic integration has been carried out in all bilateral, regional and multilateral aspects.

Vietnam has become a member of a number of regional and international organisations, including the ASEAN, the ASEAN Free Trade Area, and the World Trade Organisation.

Together with other ASEAN member countries, Vietnam has joined free trade agreements between the association and partners, including China , India , the Republic of Korea , Japan , Australia and New Zealand .

Bilaterally, Vietnam has signed a series of important deals with partners, including two bilateral free trade agreements with Japan and Chile .

The country is also working hard for six other deals, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and free trade agreements with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union and the European Union, Khanh noted.

Meanwhile, former Minister of Trade Truong Dinh Tuyen said international economic cooperation with wider and deeper range of connectivity is positively supporting the economic restructuring of Vietnam . This has helped the country tap both internal and external advantages for the promotion of exports and attracting more foreign investment, he said.

Discussing major trends of multilateral external relations in the 21 st century, WTO former Director General Pascal Lamy said in the next few decades, globalisation will continue to shape the world situation.

He held that each country should perfect their governance model to adapt to a more complicated global environment. Multilateral mechanisms can assist them in overcoming this challenge, he added.

Lamy asserted that multilateralism will remain trendy in the current geopolitical and geo-economic situations, helping mobilising joint efforts of countries in coping with common challenges.-VNA