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Vietnam Today

Thai lawmaker visits Vietnam

Released at: 15:43, 15/08/2017

Thai lawmaker visits Vietnam

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (R) and President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. Photo: VNA

Thailand's National Legislative Assembly President meets with NA leader during August 13-16 visit to discuss measures for boosting bilateral cooperation.

by Nguyen Quoc

During talks in Hanoi on August 14, National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly (NLA) President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, who is on an official visit to Vietnam from August 13 to 16, agreed that lawmakers in the two countries should continue to share common viewpoints and support each other regarding issues of common concern at international and regional inter-parliamentary forums, contributing to peace, stability and development in Asia-Pacific, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Ms. Ngan affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of prioritizing the strategic partnership with Thailand. She asked both sides to work more closely to effectively carry out the plan of action to implement their strategic partnership between 2014 and 2018, as well as important cooperation mechanisms such as the joint cabinet meeting, political consultation, high-level dialogue on security, and dialogue on defense policy.

Mr. Wichitcholchai said the two countries need to step up the partnership in trade and investment and gradually balance their trade position.

Thailand wants more Vietnamese investment, he noted, stressing that the two legislative agencies are ready to work together to resolve obstacles facing investors.

The two said that to optimize the countries’ cooperation potential, specialized agencies of the two parliaments should closely supervise government cooperative agreements and maintain delegation exchanges at all levels. The two parliamentary friendship groups also need to increase connections.

Highlighting the thriving trade and investment ties, they noted that Thailand ranks 10th among foreign investors in Vietnam and is its largest ASEAN trade partner, while Vietnam is the eighth-largest foreign investor in Thailand.

Bilateral trade hit $12.5 billion in 2016, up 8.9 per cent against 2015, and was $7 billion in the first half of 2017, up 22.5 per cent year-on-year.

Ms. Ngan asked the two sides to coordinate more strongly to reach targeted two-way trade of $20 billion by 2020 and to reduce the trade imbalance, as Vietnam still records a considerable deficit with Thailand.

They should provide more favorable conditions for Vietnamese and Thai businesses to boost trade and investment activities, she added.

She pledged optimal conditions from the NA and the government for Thai firms to invest in such fields as tourism (especially marine tourism), textiles and garments, footwear, cosmetics, food, agricultural products, machinery, chemistry, and materials production. These are areas that match Thailand’s strength and Vietnam’s potential.

In 2016, about 800,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Thailand but only 260,000 Thais visited Vietnam. Mr. Wichitcholchai said he hopes that after more air routes linking the countries are opened, the number of Thai visitors to Vietnam will surge.

Regarding cooperation in ASEAN, Ms. Ngan said that as ASEAN members, Vietnam and Thailand need to enhance solidarity to promote the bloc’s unity, strengths, and central role. They should persist with ASEAN’s common principles and viewpoints on regional global issues.

She urged further coordination with each other and with other Mekong countries to promote cooperation, management and the sustainable use of the river’s water resources, and to effectively implement the outcomes of the seventh Summit of the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS 7), held in October 2016.

In terms of agriculture, fisheries and labor, the legislators discussed the acceleration of signing a new memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand and the signing of an agreement on setting up a hotline for fishery activities at sea.

Ms. Ngan suggested both sides consider expanding the fields and jobs open to Vietnamese workers in Thailand. The two countries’ labor ministries need to promptly carry out relevant procedures so that Thailand can officially recruit Vietnamese workers.

She also thanked the Thai Government for its favorable conditions for Vietnamese and Thais to integrate into local society and for the construction and management of relic sites of President Ho Chi Minh in Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom provinces.

The two also discussed international and regional issues of shared concern. Ms. Ngan said Vietnam wants to keep coordinating with Thailand to strengthen ASEAN’s solidarity, boost the bloc’s common voice and role in settling security and development affairs in the region, and help deal with East Sea dispute through peaceful means in line with international law.

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