Vietnam’s international integration, economic diplomacy tasks in the new period

Vietnam has established economic relations with more than 200 countries and territories and last year’s two-way trade turnover totaling more than 200 billion USD. Last year, foreign investors poured nearly 200 billion USD of registered capital into 1,500 FDI projects in Vietnam. Despite economic difficulties, foreign donors pledged up to 7.88 billion USD of official development assistance for Vietnam. The figures reflect foreign investors’ confidence in Vietnam’s economic prospects. But like its political diplomacy, Vietnam’s economic diplomacy needs further improvement, especially with the nation entering a new period of development.

At a recent Diplomatic Conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the diplomatic sector to create a master strategy for international economic integration in the first quarter of 2012. Mr. Dung stresses ‘in the current situation, it’s impossible to do anything without a strategy or clear objectives. So, the master strategy should include cooperative strategies with each nation and each region. The Foreign Minister should assign overseas representative agencies in each country to outline economic cooperation strategies with that nation for the next five to 10 years’.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the Ministry is working with relevant agencies to develop this strategy adding ‘Vietnam’s international economic integration will become in-depth cooperation. It’s time to lift Vietnam’s diplomatic relations to a new heights and develop longer-term economic and trade cooperation models. Regarding the deeper integration, it will be necessary to implement the Party’s admonition to be a reliable and responsible partner in all international organizations to which Vietnam belongs. It’s also essential to give prominence to Vietnam’s role by actively proposing initiatives and, more actively participating in shared issues of the international community. In the next 5 to 10 years, we should fulfill international commitments including commitments to the World Trade Organization, the building of the ASEAN community, and commitments within the framework of agreements Vietnam has signed’.

The continuation of developing strategic partnership with countries is another key activity of 2012 to boost economic cooperation. Mr. Minh noted that the Overseas Vietnamese community of more than 3 million people around the world is a strong force for national development. They are investors, intellectuals, and a bridge linking Vietnam to each host country. Minister Minh says that over the years, overseas Vietnamese have done this task well. The Foreign Minister elaborates further ‘Affairs relating to overseas Vietnamese will continue to be prioritized in the future to increase the position of overseas Vietnamese communities in the host countries. It’s particularly necessary to consolidate the legal status of overseas Vietnamese in some regions to facilitate their current residence and business. The diplomatic sector will recommend the building of policies to create better conditions for overseas Vietnamese in nationality procedures, confirming Vietnamese origin, procedures related to buying real estate in Vietnam, investment in the homeland, visa exemptions, visits of relatives, and activities to preserve Vietnam’s traditional culture and customs’.

Anh Huyen