President Truong Tan Sang will pay a State visit to Sri Lanka from Oct. 14-15 at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The visit aims to affirm Vietnam ’s consistent policy of prioritising the traditional friendly ties with Sri Lanka and boosting cooperation with the country in economics trade, investment, science, technology and education, and enhance the two countries’ relations at regional and international forums.

Vietnam and Sri Lanka established relations at Ambassadorial level on July 21, 1970. Vietnam opened its embassy in Colombo in 1971, which was closed in 1982 due to economic difficulties. Vietnam reopened the embassy in April, 2011. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka opened its embassy in Vietnam in January 2003.

Sri Lanka supported Vietnam in the struggle for independence. Both sides enjoyed good coordination at international forums, including Non-aligned Movement, South-South Cooperation and the United Nations.

Economic relations between the two countries have grown steadily in recent years with two-way trade increasing from 53.7 million USD in 2007 to 93 million USD in 2010.

Vietnam ’s main exports to Sri Lanka include precious stones and metals, agricultural tools and machines, rubber, seafood, handicrafts and wooden products, while importing cattle feed, raw diamonds, garment and textile materials, footwear, plastic and chemicals.

By July 2011, Sri Lanka had invested in seven projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of 13.5 million USD, ranking 65 th out of 92 countries and territories investing in Vietnam .

Agricultural cooperation has also been developed in recent years. In 2007, an Action Plan on the implementation of cooperation agreements in agriculture and fisheries for 2007-2009 was approved. Two years later, an Action Plan on this field was inked for 2010-2013.

Vietnam-Sri Lanka Joint Committee, set up in 2003, has met twice, firstly in Hanoi in October 2003, and then in Colombo in August 2009.

President Sang’s visit aims to create a breakthrough in relations between the two countries and open up possibilities of increased cooperation in trade and investment.

The visit is also expected to boost cooperation and exchange of experience with Sri Lanka in areas of the two sides’ strength such as agriculture and rural development, fisheries and tourism, on the basis of signed agreements.

The two sides are scheduled to sign a number of documents, including an aviation transportation agreement, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on political consultation between the two Foreign Ministries, an MoU on cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance and Planning, and an MoU on engineering mechanical cooperation./.