Promoting Vietnam-Ireland cooperation

(VOVworld)- Irish President Michael Daniel Higgins has begun a State visit to Vietnam from November 5 to November 14 at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang. The visit marks 20 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries and opens a new period in bilateral cooperation. This is the first state visit by an Irish Head of State to Vietnam.

Promoting Vietnam-Ireland cooperation  - ảnh 1
Irish President Micheal Daniel Higgins and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang

20 years of diplomatic ties

Since Vietnam and Ireland set up diplomatic ties on April 5, 1996, the two countries have made important advances in cooperation and friendship. They have increase exchanges of high-ranking delegations and worked closely at international forums.

Bilateral trade has increased rapidly reaching 402 million USD in 2015 and 800 million USD in the first nine months of 2016. Vietnam mainly ships timber and wood products, footwear and garments to Ireland. Ireland currently has 17 investment projects in Vietnam. Some Irish companies like the EBS International Electricity Company have been operating in Vietnam since 1990. The two countries have strengthened bilateral cooperation in energy and electricity. Vietnam is the only Asian nation among the nine top recipients of Ireland’s development assistance. Ireland’s aid to Vietnam is focused on poverty reduction, the development of the private sector in the Mekong Delta, economic restructuring, capacity building for people-elected agencies, implementing the One UN Initiative and local development programs.

During the Irish Minister of Trade and Development’s visit to Vietnam in 2011, Ireland announced its National Strategy on Vietnam-Ireland Development Cooperation for 2011-2015 that was worth 55 million euros. The Strategy was aimed at helping the Vietnamese government realize its 5-year socio-economic development plan. The Irish Government is expected to reveal soon a similar national strategy for 2017-2020.

The two countries are boosting cooperation in education and training. Over the past years, Ireland has awarded Vietnamese students 185 scholarships through the Irish Aids Ideas Strand 1 Scholarship Program which has been in place since 2009 for postgraduate study in business, finance and other disciplines and the Irish Aids Ideas Strand 2 Scholarship Program for postgraduate study in technical areas such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) , Biotechnology , Pharmacy and Social Sciences. There are currently about 4,000 Vietnamese people living in Ireland.

The two sides have also enhanced cooperation in search and rescue and addressing the aftermath left over from the war of bombs, mines, and explosives and Agent Orange/Dioxin, and search and rescue. In September Vietnam proposed four areas of increased agricultural cooperation with Ireland in the near future: modern farming management, organic agriculture, a safe food and agricultural product management system, and joint investment in cow breeding.

New period of development of bilateral ties

During his visit to Vietnam, President Higgins will meet with President Tran Dai Quang and other Vietnamese leaders, visit Ireland-funded projects on demining and poverty reduction in Hue and Quang Tri province, and visit HCM City. The two countries are expected to sign a cooperative agreement on education and training and two Irish projects on wind power development in Binh Thuan and Soc Trang province.

President Higgins’s visit to Vietnam, which takes place on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, demonstrates great mutual political trust. The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, development cooperation, education, and training, and turning a new page in bilateral ties.