|Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Pham Quoc Tru (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Pham Quoc Tru has made the statement in a recent media interview in Algeria.
This is the first official visit to Vietnam by an Algerian Foreign Minister since 2000.
Minister Abdelkader Messahel is scheduled to meet a number of high-ranking Vietnamese leaders, and hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh to inform each other about their countries’ policies and exchange views on international and regional issues of shared concern, and examine ways to develop the partnership between the two countries and their ministries.
Over the past years, bilateral cooperation has achieved remarkable progress in a number of fields. Both sides have signed 12 treaties and nearly 20 agreements, protocols, and memoranda of understanding on cooperation in diplomacy, economy and trade, science and technology, culture, sports, tourism, justice, post-telecommunications, animal and plant quarantine, animal health, maritime transportation, education, vocational training, finance, agriculture, and small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
The bilateral Inter-Governmental Committee has been set up, meeting biennially in order to coordinate and step up cooperation in diverse fields. During its 11th meeting in November 2017, the two sides agreed on a score of specific measures to further increase bilateral collaboration in the time to come.
Regarding politics and diplomacy, Vietnam and Algeria have maintained the periodic political consultation mechanism at deputy foreign ministerial level. The consultations have contributed to deepening mutual understanding and coordination at international forums, while fostering bilateral partnership, the Vietnamese diplomat said.
The two countries have granted visa waiver for citizens of each other’s nations, while establishing friendship parliamentarian groups and friendship associations with diverse activities to strengthen people-to-people exchange.
In terms of economics, Vietnam and Algeria have partnered in an oil and gas joint-venture project in the latter’s Bir Seba. The firm started commercial exploitation in 2015 with a capacity of 20,000 barrels per day. The project is currently in its second phase with a target of increasing the capacity to 40,000 barrels per day by late 2019 and early 2020.
This is one of the effective investment projects of Vietnam abroad, Tru said.
Two-way has seen a sharp increase over recent years. Vietnam’s exports to the North African nation rose to US$281 million in 2017 from US$233 million in 2015, making Algeria its third largest export market of Vietnam in Africa.
Currently, about 5,000 Vietnamese people are working in Algeria, mostly on construction sites.
With regard to the prospects of the Vietnam-Algeria partnership, Tru said that with their huge potential, sound political relations, and determination of their leaders, the comprehensive cooperation, especially in economics-trade, and labour will grow further in future.
However, the ambassador also mentioned current and future difficulties and challenges facing bilateral cooperation, particularly in economic and labour cooperation such as the shortcomings in the current legal framework while Algeria has yet to become a member of the World Trade Organisation.
Algeria’s measures to ban and limit imports have caused a lot of difficulties for Vietnam’s exports, The trade agreement signed between the two countries in 1994 proved to be ineffective and impractical to bilateral trade development, Tru noted.
On the other hand, the current bilateral legal framework also lacks necessary regulations to encourage and protect investment and business activities of enterprises.
There is a lack of information and understanding of relevant agencies and business communities of both sides on each other’s markets and partners.
Additionally, investment resources from the two States are still inadequate to support bilateral cooperation programmes and projects, he said.