Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc inspect the honour guards (Source: VNA)
 
Vienna (VNA) – A solemn welcome ceremony for Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc took place on October 15 at the Hofburg Palace in the Austrian capital city of Vienna, hosted by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The two leaders inspected the honour guards and greeted government members and officials of both nations. They convened a retreat before holding official talks.

Austria was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1972. Bilateral ties have so far thrived in diverse areas with the regular exchange of high-level visits and mutual support at multilateral forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN-EU Summit.

Bilateral trade has grown in recent years, with Vietnam exporting mobile phones and components, footwear, wood and wooden furniture, apparel, machines and equipment to Austria. Vietnam mainly imports pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, machines and equipment, paper, animal feed and materials from Austria.

Two-way trade surpassed 4 billion USD last year, up 42 percent from 2016. Austria became the sixth largest importer of Vietnamese goods in Europe. In the first seven months of 2018, Vietnam’s exports to the European country reached 2.58 billion USD, up 47 percent year-on-year, while its imports fell by 16 percent to 167 million USD.

As of August 2018, Austria recorded 31 valid projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of 143.9 million USD, ranking 43rd out of 129 countries and territories investing in the Asian country.

During the Austrian President’s visit to Vietnam in May 2012, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation, thus laying a foundation for bilateral ties in this field.

Each year, Austria provides about 20 post-graduate scholarships for Vietnam. The Austrian Embassy in Hanoi also provides teaching materials and equipment for local universities offering German language courses.–VNA