The Vietnam-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Economic, Commercial, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held its 16th session in Hanoi from October 15-16.

The session was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and Russian First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov.

The two Deputy PMs reviewed bilateral cooperation over the recent past, as well as exchanged and agreed on measures to strengthen and foster the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the coming time.

They expressed their delight at the implementation of resolutions of the committee’s 15th session which was held in Russia last October, and highlighted the increasingly strengthened political ties and the effective economic and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides acknowledged positive developments in bilateral trade, however, they noted that it has yet to match the scale of the two economies and potential.

They stressed the need for breakthrough measures, including the early signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan , and making decision on priority investment projects within the framework of the high-level joint working group headed by Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade and Russia ’s Minister of Economic Development.

In particular, the two Deputy PMs emphasised energy cooperation as one of the key cooperation fields which is of strategic importance to the two countries’ ties as well as each country’s economic development.

The two sides highly valued the close cooperation between the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Russia’s Zarubezhneft, Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil groups in expanding oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities in Vietnam’s continental shelf and in Russia. They agree that besides existing joint ventures like Vietsovpetro, Rusvietpetro, Gazpromviet and Vietgazprom, the two sides should consider establishing new ones to implement more cooperation projects.

The two sides also affirmed that nuclear energy is one of the priorities of bilateral cooperation with high potential and good prospects, and expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the Ninh Thuan I nuclear power plant project.

In the time to come, Vietnam will continue to work on completing the legal foundation for nuclear power development, Deputy PM Hai said, asking Russia to help Vietnam train professional human resources in atomic energy in order to manage and run nuclear power plant safely.

The two sides noted that industry, including manufacturing engineering, metallurgy, coal mining, ship building and electricity, is another priority of bilateral cooperation. They encouraged the establishment of joint ventures in ship building to make use of Vietnam’s existing ship yards and Russia ’s designs, technology and technical equipment.

The two deputy PMs said the joint working group on light industry should research and propose policies and mechanisms to encourage investment in this field.

The two sides also discussed and agreed on measures to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in finance, banking, agriculture, telecommunications, science-technology and education and training.

They agreed to organise the next session of the inter-governmental committee in Moscow in 2014 and signed the minutes of the committee’s 16th session.

During his stay in Vietnam, the Russian deputy PM also met with President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and attended the first Vietnam-Russia Economic Forum.-VNA