|President Tran Dai Quang (R) and Bangladeshi Ambassador
The visit affirms Vietnam’s consistent external policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of international ties, including attaching importance to strengthening relations with Bangladesh.
In recent years, the two sides have exchanged delegations, including the Vietnamese National Assembly delegation’s trip to Dhaka to attend the 136th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentarian Union in April 2017, Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy’s visit to co-chair the first political consultation between the two foreign ministries in August 2017 and the Vietnam visit by Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in July 2017.
Bangladesh recently sent high-level delegations to Vietnam to promote cooperation in administration management, agriculture, rural development, tourism and climate change.
On national defence-security ties, the two sides shared experience in joining United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions and trans-national crime prevention. Vietnam welcomed several delegations of leaders and staff of the Bangladesh Military Academy to the country.
The two countries have worked closely together in regional and global forums, particularly the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement, the South-South Cooperation, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia-Europe Meeting and regional and sub-regional cooperation frameworks. In the UN, Vietnam and Bangladesh regularly agree on issues such as human rights, gender equality and sustainable development.
Vietnam noted Bangladesh’s proposal to support its bid to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN and encouraged its collaboration with the bloc.
On the East Sea issue, they underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability in respect for recognised basic principles of international law to peacefully settle disputes to ensure maritime safety and freedom.
Two-way trade soared from US$14 million in 2002 to US$388.1 million in 2012 and more than US$900 million in 2017. From 2010-2014, exports-imports between the two countries surged to nearly US$800 million from US$288 million.
Vietnam mainly exports clinker and cement (nearly 26 percent of its total exports to Bangladesh), rice, fibre, apparel, accessories and machinery while importing leather and footwear materials, pharmaceuticals, sesame, seafood and fibre. In May 2017, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding on rice trade which has been extended till 2022.
As of the end of December 2017, Bangladesh had invested in four projects worth US$615,000 in Vietnam, ranking 99th out of 125 countries and territories investing in the country. Vietnam recorded one project worth US$27,900 in Bangladesh.
The South Asian country hopes Vietnamese firms will invest in electricity, information technology, footwear, infrastructure and arboriculture.
Bangladesh is a promising market with a 160 million-strong population. The Vietnamese ministries of Industry and Trade, and Planning and Investment are helping firms enhance cooperation with Bangladesh in agro-fishery, industry, handicraft, finance, banking, culture, education-training and health care.
Speaking at an investment and trade promotion seminar in Dhaka in August 2017, Vietnamese Ambassador Tran Van Khoa called on Vietnamese and Bangladeshi enterprises to strive to lift two-way trade to US$1 billion in the future.
A number of activities to popularise the two countries’ culture have been promoted, including the Dhaka international film festival and the Vietnam cuisine day in the Bangladeshi capital.
In collaboration with the Bangladeshi Ministry of Public Administration and the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, the Vietnam National Academy of Public Administration held 16 training courses on public administration for nearly 500 officials of the Bangladeshi government in Vietnam.