Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands Khadija Arib (R) welcomed NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in The Hague on March 27 (Photo: VNA)

The Hague (VNA) – Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan held talks with Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands Khadija Arib in The Hague on March 27 morning (local time).

At the talks following the welcome ceremony hosted by Arib, Chairwoman Ngan said this is the first visit by a leader of the Vietnamese parliament to the Netherlands, and it is made amid the 45th founding anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties and their efforts to lift bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

She expressed her hope that this visit will intensify the friendship and cooperation between the two countries in general, and between the Vietnamese and Dutch parliaments in particular, thus opening up new cooperation prospects in bilateral ties and between Vietnam, ASEAN and the European Union (EU).

The two legislators noted with satisfaction the development of their countries’ friendship and cooperation in all aspects as well as their increasingly reinforced political trust. The Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management, formed in 2010, and the Strategic Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, formed in 2014, are effective cooperation models, which have helped capitalise on the strengths of the Netherlands and promote sustainable development in Vietnam.

Chairwoman Ngan informed her host about Vietnam’s socio-economic situation and congratulated the Netherlands on serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2018. She voiced her hope that with their sound cooperation at multilateral mechanisms, especially between the Vietnamese and Dutch missions to the UN, the two sides will continue successfully cooperating at the UN Security Council, thus contributing to regional and global peace, prosperity and stability.

She underlined that maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation is the common interest of the international community, including the Netherlands. She called on the country to support the peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes and the serious adherence to and enforcement of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Speaker of the Dutch lower house Khadija Arib agreed with her guest’s opinions, noting that the two countries share many similarities and boast huge potential for stronger cooperation in the time ahead.

Discussing bilateral cooperation in certain fields, the leaders expressed their delight at the outcomes in their countries’ economic, trade and investment ties. The Netherlands is currently the biggest export market of Vietnam in the EU. In 2017, bilateral trade exceeded 7.77 billion USD.

Chairwoman Ngan highly valued many effective investment projects of major Dutch businesses in Vietnam such as Heineken (beer), Unilever (detergents, cosmetics), Royal Dutch Shell (oil and gas exploitation and distribution), Foremost (milk), Akzo Nobel Coatings (pharmaceutical chemistry), and Philips (electronics). With 305 projects worth nearly 8.2 billion USD, the Netherlands now ranks 11th among the 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

She also thanked the Dutch parliament for ratifying the EU-Vietnam Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation. Recently, Vietnams and the EU agreed to separate the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) into two agreements, namely the agreement on trade in goods and the agreement on investment.

She asked the Dutch parliament to promote the signing and ratification of those agreements, voicing her belief that once the EVFTA takes effect, it will create a legal framework for bilateral trade and investment to make breakthroughs.

[Infographics: Vietnam-Netherlands relationship:Example of dynamic and effective ties]

Regarding cooperation in environment and agriculture, the Vietnamese leader said the Vietnamese Party and State appreciate the Netherlands’ assistance within the framework of the Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management, especially in building the Mekong Delta Plan which gives a long-term vision and recommendations for the sustainable development of this region amid heavy impacts of climate change.

She also applauded cooperation projects between the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. She asked the EU nation to continue supporting Vietnam to carry out projects on enhancing the capacity of integrated water resources management, building pilot water supply models in areas with limited access to water, and making water resources planning in the Mekong Delta.

Regarding culture and tourism, the leaders agreed that the two sides will consider strengthening cooperation with other partners in protecting and promoting the values of cultural heritage so as to increase exchanges, cooperation and the sharing of professional experience.

The two sides will boost cooperation in researching museology, restoring masterpieces of arts, researching the preservation of relic sites, and promoting of the community’s role in protecting and promoting the values of cultural heritage.

The Vietnamese leader said a lot of potential in bilateral cooperation in tourism remain untapped, suggesting the Netherlands sign a bilateral tourism cooperation agreement as a legal foundation for the formation and deployment of specific programmes and cooperative activities in tourism between the two countries.

On security-defence ties, Ngan wished that the Netherlands would continue supporting and sharing with Vietnam its experience in joining in UN peacekeeping missions and establishing the Peacekeeping Centre.

At their talks, the leaders reached a consensus that the cooperation between the National Assembly of Vietnam and the House of Representatives the Netherlands has unceasingly been growing.

The two sides have maintained the exchanges of all-level visits, shared experience in parliamentary activities, while conducting meetings, coordinating and supporting each other at multilateral parliamentary forums.

The leaders agreed to continue exchange high-level visits, as well as visits at other levels, to promote mutual understanding and trust, making the activity as a foundation for the law-making bodies to expand their ties practically and efficiently in all fields.

They agreed to continue making the best use of the consultation mechanism, working closely at multilateral forums like IPU and ASEP, and coordinating in monitoring the implementation of cooperation agreements signed by the two governments, and exchanging information about activities of each parliament.

NA Chairwoman Ngan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib agreed to consider the establishment of a parliamentary friendship group which will serve as a platform for the two countries’ legislators to cooperate.

The Speaker showed her special interests in the role of women in the political life in Vietnam, especially the female legislators’ contributions to the NA.

Ngan took the occasion to thank the Netherlands for having created favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community there, suggesting the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the parliament continue helping them integrate into the host society and contribute to its socio-economic development, and promote wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries.

She invited the Speaker to visit Vietnam in the coming time and the host leader accepted the invitation with pleasure.-VNA