Provinces and centrally-run cities across the country have succeeded in expanding external relations, with 53 new cooperation agreements signed with foreign partners last year, it was reported at an online conference held by the Foreign Ministry on January 27.

Director of the External Affairs Department Phung The Long said around 150 Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation were also signed between provinces and cities with foreign companies and organisations, bringing in resources for local socio-economic development.

In his report, Long also noted that local authorities have paid attention to economic diplomacy via such measures as improving local investment environment, establishing hotlines or special taskforces to quickly address problems reported by investors and organising numerous investment and trade promotion activities. He cited the examples of Ha Nam, Quang Ninh and Ba Ria-Rung Tau provinces where local authorities hold regular dialogues with investors.

Besides investment, provinces and cities tried to make the best use of the help from foreign non-governmental organisations to improve socio-economic conditions in remote and disadvantaged areas.

The official said localities should continue with efforts to promote economic integration in 2015, adding that the Foreign Ministry will assist all provinces and cities in these efforts.

Delegates from 63 provinces and cities nationwide shared experiences in promoting international relations at the provincial level. They also discussed measures to deal with problems in the work and enhance the coordination between local authorities and the Foreign Ministry in the field.-VNA