Vietnam-Norway cooperation strengthened

(VOVWORLD) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will make an official visit to Norway from Friday to Sunday at the invitation of Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The visit is aimed at deepening the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Norway was one of the many North European countries that strongly supported Vietnam’s past struggle for national liberation. Norway is now aiding Vietnam’s renovation, poverty reduction, and international integration efforts. The two countries have worked together effectively at multilateral forums like the UN, the WTO, and the WB.

Vibrant trade and investment cooperation

In 2006, the two countries signed an MOU on supporting Vietnam-Norway trade cooperation and setting up a Bilateral Working Group to boost trade and investment. Norway was one of the first countries to conclude WTO negotiations with Vietnam. In March 2012, Vietnam began free trade agreement negotiations with Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein after the European Free Trade Agreement Bloc recognized Vietnam’s market economy status. Last year, two-way trade between Vietnam and Norway totaled 363 million USD, 9 million USD more than in the previous year. Norway now has 41 investment projects in Vietnam worth 166 million USD, ranking 41st of 130 countries and territories invested in Vietnam. Norway’s projects are primarily in Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Hanoi, Khanh Hoa, Binh Duong and Hai Phong and include wood processing, construction materials, interior decoration, agro-forestry production, aquaculture, information technology, and communications.

Effective development cooperation

Norway is one of the biggest donors to Vietnam in the UN program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (UN-REDD).

In late 2012, Vietnam and Norway signed a Joint Statement on Implementing the REDD+ Initiative for Developing Countries. Norway pledged 30 million USD to help Vietnam to implement the second phase of the UN-REDD program in Lao Cai, Bac Kan, Ha Tinh, BinhThuan, Lam Dong, and Ca Mau province. Norway has also helped Vietnam improve its education, health care, management of natural resources, and renewable energy.

The two countries’ cooperation in education, training, culture, tourism, security, and national defense has been fruitful. Norway provides scholarships to Vietnamese students and capacity building programs to Vietnamese lecturers and officials. Norway has funded new boarding schools in Dien Bien, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Nam province and has given primary school scholarships to disadvantaged children. Norway is helping Vietnam compile an ethnic language dictionary and replicate a traditional Cham house at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnicity.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Norway during the next two days is expected to create new momentum for bilateral ties.