At a Vietnam-Norway Business Summit  (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – An official visit to Norway by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse looks to boost the traditional friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation, especially trade and investment, between the two countries.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse will pay an official visit to Norway from May 24-26 at the invitation of Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Vietnam and Norway set up diplomatic ties in November, 1971.

Bilateral trade reached 363 million USD in 2018, with Vietnam exporting mainly apparel, footwear, wooden furniture, and cashew to Norway and importing mostly seafood, machinery, equipment, fertilizers, chemicals, steel and iron from the country.

Norway established a section called Innovation Norway at its Embassy in Vietnam in 2006 and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on trade cooperation assistance and the establishment of a bilateral working group in November the same year, with a view to stepping up trade-investment activities.

Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that groups Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein began negotiations for their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in March, 2012, and have so far conducted 16 rounds of talks. The EFTA has already recognized Vietnam’s market economy status.

Norway is running 41 projects with total registered investment capital of 166 million USD, ranking 41st among 130 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Some 40 Norwegian businesses are operating in Vietnam, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City, the southern province of Binh Duong, the southern city of Vung Tau, the south central province of Khanh Hoa, Hanoi, and the northern city of Hai Phong. Their projects have engaged mostly in the manufacturing of timber, construction materials and interior design products; agriculture, forestry, and aquaculture; information and communications.

However, Vietnamese businesses have yet invested directly in any projects in Norway.

The two countries resumed their development cooperation following the signing of a framework agreement on development cooperation in October 1996.

Norway is one of the largest sponsors for Vietnam in the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) as it pledged to finance over 30 million USD for the UN-REDD in Vietnam from 2013-2015 under a joint statement signed in December 2012.

Norway-funded projects in education, health care, natural resources management and renewable energy have been implemented well in Vietnam.

Norway provided a total aid of 320 million USD for Vietnam.

Cultural cooperation between the two countries has been boosted. Norway began sponsoring cultural development in Vietnam through the “Transposition” project that has helped connect art institutions, organize concerts, training courses, and short-term profession improvement trips for students and artists, assist the teaching of music, and develop libraries, among others.

Norway provided scholarships for lecturers and researchers from Vietnamese universities and research institutes, along with helping train officials in human rights and peacekeeping for Vietnam.

The two countries signed a number of agreements, including the one on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion, the other on articles and mutual procedures for development cooperation, the agreement on economic and trade cooperation, and a memorandum of understanding on child adoption.-VNA