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Vietnam & Thailand to expand and strengthen economic cooperation

Released at: 09:40, 21/08/2017

Vietnam & Thailand to expand and strengthen economic cooperation

At the welcome ceremony for PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Bangkok. Photo: VGP

Two sides reiterate commitment towards bilateral trade target of $20 billion by 2020 in joint statement issued during Thai visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

by Nguyen Quoc

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has wrapped up his official visit to Thailand from August 17-19 at the invitation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, during which a joint statement was issued reaffirming the determination of both sides to lift their bilateral strategic partnership.

According to the joint statement, during the visit, the two sides signed the following memoranda of understanding (MoU) and agreements: (1) An agreement between the two governments on cooperation in science, technology and innovation; (2) An MoU between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce on economic and trade cooperation; (3) An MoU between the Ministry of Information and Communications and Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society on cooperation in the field of posts, telecommunications, information, and digital technology; (4) An MoU on cooperation between the State Bank of Vietnam and the Bank of Thailand; (5) An MoU on the establishment of sister cities between Ca Mau province and the Thai province of Trat; (6) An agreement on legal fees between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the EGAT International Company Limited; (7) an MoU between the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Thailand’s Siam Cement Public Company Limited; (8) An MoU between the PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertilizer JSC, the PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation, the Binh Son Refining and Petro Chemicals Company Limited, and the SCG Chemicals Company Limited; (9) An MoU between the SCIC Investment Company and the Kasikorn Bank Public Company Limited; and (10) Cooperation in the Bac Lieu/Ca Mau Wind Power Project of 700 MV between the Cong Ly Limited Company and the Super Energy Group Company Limited.

Regarding the Vietnam - Thailand strategic partnership, the joint statement reads:

Both Prime Ministers held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Prime Minister Prayut and Prime Minister Phuc reviewed and expressed great satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the substantial progress the two countries have made according to the Plan of Action Implementing the Thailand - Vietnam Strategic Partnership (2014 - 2018), and agreed to expand and deepen their cooperation in advancing their strategic partnership.

Both parties emphasized their commitment and determination to strengthen their bilateral relationship based on mutual respect, mutual understanding, and mutual benefit at all levels and in all areas.

The two Prime Ministers appreciated the regular exchanges of high-level visits and continued cooperation through existing bilateral mechanisms, and agreed on tentative schedules for the organization of the 4th Joint Cabinet Retreat (JCR) in early 2018, preceded by the 3rd Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), the 3rd Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (FMR), and the 3rd Joint Trade Committee (JTC). They also welcomed the successful outcome of the 9th Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation (JWG on PSC) held from July 16-19, and other bilateral mechanisms.

On economic cooperation, the joint statement stresses:

Both Prime Ministers expressed appreciation of the growing trade and investment ties between Thailand and Vietnam. They reiterated their commitment towards a bilateral trade target of $20 billion by 2020. The two leaders agreed to task agencies concerned to work closely to ensure that the target would be achieved, taking into account the growth potential of Vietnam and Thailand’s markets.

The two leaders commended the friendly coordination between the private sectors of both countries on the export of rice. Both sides agreed that it is important to facilitate two-way trade as well as strengthen trade promotion between the two countries.

The Thai side expressed its appreciation of Vietnam’s recent granting of import permits for Thai longan and lychee and looked forward to the granting of import permits for Thai rambutan and mango in the near future. The Vietnamese side also expressed its appreciation for the granting of import permits for lychee, longan, and mango from Vietnam by the Thai side in 2016. The Thai side informed the Vietnamese side that Vietnam’s recent additional request for import permits for rambutan, pineapple, custard apple, star apple, and pomelo is under positive consideration.

The two Prime Ministers expressed appreciation for the Thai private sector’s initiatives to share experiences in product branding and development for local Vietnamese products and handicrafts. Both sides recognized the benefits of establishing one-stop export service centers and therefore are willing to share lessons learned and best practice as gestures of mutual support.

The two Prime Ministers commended the active and extensive connections between the Thai and Vietnamese private sectors, especially in creating and nurturing the business networks of startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and young entrepreneurs between both countries, which will contribute to stronger economic growth in both countries. The Thai side welcomed more Vietnamese investment into Thailand.

Both sides agreed to promote and strengthen cooperation in the area of trade through the frequent exchange of information and experiences under bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade frameworks.

The joint statement also highlights the two sides’ determination to consolidate and advance investment. It states that the two Prime Ministers highly appreciate the potential of both countries as strategic partners to prosper together. Both sides reaffirmed a willingness to link bilateral trade to bilateral investment, particularly sectors emphasizing Vietnam and Thailand’s strengths, as an important hub for sub-regional production and supply chains.

The Thai side reaffirmed its determination to further support the substantial investment of the Thai private sector, particularly in fields fundamental to Vietnam’s economic growth, such as industrial real estate development, energy, construction materials, banking, tourism, garments and textiles, chemicals manufacture, petrochemicals, agricultural and food processing, electronics, and automotive components. The Thai side also reiterated the importance of Vietnam as an essential manufacturing base for Thai businesses in the region and the world. Both Prime Ministers agreed, in this regard, to assign concerned agencies to continue to facilitate greater flows of investment in these areas and to resolve any impediments.

The two leaders expressed appreciation that the Thai private sector has demonstrated long-term vision and determination to develop a business model with corporate social responsibility for local Vietnamese communities, particularly in contributing to the improvement of infrastructure, health, and education.

Regarding labor cooperation, the joint statement notes:

The two sides discussed the further enhancing of bilateral labor cooperation. They agreed to work closely to facilitate the importation of Vietnamese workers in construction and fisheries in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Employment of Vietnamese Workers and the Agreement of Employment of Vietnamese Workers signed in July 2016, and took note of Vietnam’s request that the Thai side receive Vietnamese workers in services sector and factories

The joint statement also expressed the two sides’ pledge to extend greater connectivity.

Accordingly, the two leaders emphasized the potential of a well-linked Mekong sub-region as a hub that connects mainland Southeast Asia to the rest of Asia and the world. The two Prime Ministers expressed their determination to intensify cooperation in promoting multi-modal transportation linkages, including land, sea, and air, between the two countries and within the Mekong sub-region. Both Prime Ministers agreed to expedite the development of the scheduled bus service connecting Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam via Road 9 and Road 12, as well as the development of coastal shipping connecting Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Both leaders agreed to encourage their private sectors to urgently work together to find a business model that will benefit all parties concerned. The Vietnamese side will host the second tripartite working group meeting to develop coastal shipping routes in the third quarter of 2017.

On air connectivity, both leaders welcomed the new flight route connecting Chiang Mai in Thailand and Quang Binh in Vietnam.

According to the joint statement, the two sides also pledged to reinvigorate technical cooperation for sustainable development. The two Prime Ministers appreciated the close cooperation between the two countries in areas of technical cooperation and development. Both Prime Ministers welcomed further cooperation on the teaching of Thai and Vietnamese languages, including teaching Thai and Vietnamese at educational institutions in the respective countries. The Thai side reaffirmed Thailand’s willingness to host the 11th Thailand and Vietnam Technical Cooperation Meeting this year. Both leaders emphasized the importance of working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the Thai side expressing readiness to share its best practice and experiences with Vietnam, in particular the localizing of SDGs by beginning at the community level, engaging all stakeholders, and forging and promoting partnerships for SDGs based on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP for SDGs Partnership), which is an initiative launched by Thailand in its chairmanship of G77 in 2016. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on science and technology on the basis of the signed agreement between the two governments on cooperation in science, technology, and innovation.

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