Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s upcoming official visits to Cuba and Haiti, slated for March 26-29, are expected to bolster ties between Vietnam and the two Latin American countries.

The Cuba visit, from March 26-28, made at the invitation of President of the Council of Ministers Raul Castro, will see PM Dung discuss with Cuban leaders concrete measures to continue promoting the special relationship and enhance bilateral cooperation in economics, trade and investment.

The two sides will also touch upon regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Cuba , one of the countries that led the movement to support Vietnam during its struggle for independence and reunification, set up diplomatic ties with Vietnam on December 2, 1960.

Since then, the two sides have enjoyed growing cooperation in all fields, especially agriculture, construction, education, healthcare, biotechnology, transport, culture and sports.

Two-way trade between the two countries reached 175 million USD in 2012 and hit 203.7 million USD in the first nine months of 2013.

They have maintained regular high-level meetings, with the most recent visits made by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Cuba in 2012 and Cuban President Raul Castro to Vietnam the same year.

The Vietnam-Cuba Inter-Governmental Committee also convened its 30 th meeting in Havana in September 2012. During its 31 st meeting in Hanoi in September last year, the committee focused on ways to boost all-round cooperation between the two sides.

While staying in Haiti on March 28-29, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Haiti high-ranking officials will find ways to further the developing bilateral ties as well as trade-investment ties and South-South cooperation.

Vietnam and Haiti established their diplomatic ties on September 26, 1997. Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s official visit in December 2012, the first visit by a top leader of Haiti to Vietnam , marked a milestone in bilateral relations. One year later, Haiti opened its embassy in Hanoi and sent its chargé d’affaires to the city.

Rapid growth has been seen in two-way trade, with 2013’s figure hitting 42 million USD. Vietnam mainly imported apparel materials, pulp and animal feed from Haiti , and exported rice, apparels, rattan, wooden products, chemicals and other goods to the country.

The two sides’ telecommunications cooperation is productive, with the joint venture NATCOM currently leading the mobile market in Haiti .

Last year, the Northern Vietnam Food Corporation (Vinafood I) shipped 66,000 tonnes of rice to Haiti as part of efforts to realise a memorandum of understanding on Vietnam-Haiti rice trading signed in 2012.-VNA