Large volumes of work are ahead for the Vietnamese government and ministries this year, involving how to expand trade and woo more foreign investment.
Vietnam and India are reported to begin talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in an effort to boost bilateral trade and investment, especially in the context of robust growth in bilateral trade volumes. A joint working group is set to be founded this year to examine the feasibility of the new deal. The study will then be taken up by the two governments. The outlook is also expected to be debated at a joint meeting between both nations in the next few months.
India-Vietnam trade turnover soared from $5.6 billion in 2016 to $15 billion last year – up 13.6 per cent on-year.
Elsewhere, Vietnam and Israel are set to conclude negotiations of a bilateral FTA within this year when they will celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations, before officially inking the deal in early next year. The negotiations began in 2015.
“Once the FTA becomes valid, the trade and investment ties between both countries will flourish,” said the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) Department for Multilateral Trade Policies. “In the first eight months of 2022, Vietnam’s export turnover to Israel hit $548 million and its imports from the Middle Eastern country were worth $941 million.”
Israeli trade counsellor at the Israeli Embassy to Vietnam Gal Saf also said, “Israeli companies are showing their interest in the Vietnamese market. They hope that the bilateral FTA will soon be signed and take effect so that they can soon benefit from advantages and incentives it can bring about.”
Vietnam’s activities related to trade and investment also involves the country, together with other 11 member states of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), in conducting negotiations with the UK in Phu Quoc Island last week.
“Vietnam will continue working with other member states to soon complete negotiations for the UK to join the CPTPP. The UK’s membership will bring about wonderful opportunities in trade and investment for all participating nations,” said MoIT Minister Nguyen Hong Dien.
On February 20, the government promulgated Resolution No.21/NQ-CP on an action plan to boost economic diplomacy in service of national development towards the end of this decade. “We will continue negotiating, signing, and completing an FTA network at many levels in line with the country’s priorities and benefits,” read Resolution 21.
Vietnam will also “expeditiously consider participating in cooperation frameworks in new sectors such as digital economy, digital transformation, energy transformation, circular economy, green growth, and sustainable supply chains.”
The government has ordered relevant authorities to coordinate closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), and the MoIT to take advantage and propose frameworks to strengthen economic and trade cooperation, and specialised cooperation with government agencies and localities of partner countries.
The government will also continue attracting and taking advantage of development resources in terms of finance, technology, and policy consultancy from participation and cooperation in multilateral forums.
MoFA Standing Deputy Minister Nguyen Minh Vu told VIR, “The diplomatic sector has actively promoted Vietnam’s economic and trade relations with partners, especially FTA partners; lobbied partners to remove trade barriers for Vietnamese goods; and provided information about partners’ policies and detected opportunities to expand exports.”
Meanwhile, the government has underlined that Vietnam will attract foreign direct investment (FDI) selectively based on ensuring the environment and sustainability.
“Priorities will be given to projects with high added values and advanced technology in service of infrastructure development, digital economy, digital transformation, and green growth,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang. “We will also focus on boosting economic diplomacy to woo high-quality FDI from multinational corporations.”
According to the MoFA, in 2023, Vietnam will continue carrying out group-oriented diplomatic activities to attract big projects worth multi-billions of US dollars, in the context of increasing competition in luring this kind of funding in the region.
“Group-oriented diplomatic activities in particular and economic diplomatic activities in general are making great contributions to Vietnam’s efforts in FDI attraction and trade expansion,” said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a recent conference on boosting economic diplomacy.
The MoFA also reported that the diplomatic sector has contributed to helping Vietnam attract a large sum of overseas remittance, at $17.2 billion in 2020, over $18 billion in 2021, and nearly $19 billion last year.