June 26, 2019

A new positive milestone in the cooperative relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands

By Ngo Thi Hoa, Ambassador of Viet Nam to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

At the invitation of H.E Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, H.E. Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, paid an official visit to Viet Nam on 9 April 2019, accompanied by Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen; Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Marjolijn Sonnema; State Secretary for Finance Menno Snel; President of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers Hans de Boer, and 75 leading businesses with more than 100 members.

Although having to cut short his visit (previously scheduled from 9 to 11 April) for attending the emergency EU Summit on Brexit in Brussels, Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a tight and effective working program in Viet Nam. More specifically, the Dutch Prime Minister held official talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, met with General Secretary, State President Nguyen Phu Trong and President of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, presided with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue over the meeting with the CEOs of large enterprises investing and operating in Viet Nam, and finally attended and a sustainable fashion show held by the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Viet Nam before leaving Ha Noi on the late night of 9 April.

On the sidelines of the visit, many related Conferences, seminars, meetings and connecting events among businesses and governmental leaders of the two countries were held such as the 7th Session of the Inter-governmental Committee of Vietnam – Netherlands on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management, the Seminar between the Government and businesses in the agricultural sector, the Workshop on developing offshore wind power, the Water Business Dialogue, the 3rd Vietnam – Netherlands Civil Aviation Conference etc.

During all the meetings and talks, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Vietnamese leaders agreed that the friendship and cooperation relationship between the two countries have been developing positively, effectively and dynamically on all fields, especially in the economic sector when the Netherlands is now the second largest European trading partner of Viet Nam (with bilateral turnover in 2018 reaching 7.8 billion USD) and the largest European investor in Viet Nam (with total registered FDI amounting to 9.55 billion USD).

They noted with satisfaction the fact that the Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management and on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security have been implemented by specific programmes and projects and considered these to be the continued focus of bilateral cooperation in the future.

In the spirit of mutual trust and understanding, the two Prime Ministers discussed many international and regional issues of mutual concern; affirmed to continue to cooperate closely and support each other at multilateral fora such as the United Nations and the ASEAN-EU cooperation; highlighted  the importance of peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation in the South China Sea, while underlining the principle of legal supremacy and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The two Prime Ministers agreed to upgrade the Viet Nam-Netherlands relation to a comprehensive partnership.

After the talks, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Dutch counterpart signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Viet Nam and the Government of the Netherlands on the Cooperation on the Agricultural Transition in the Mekong River Delta, and witnessed the signing ceremony of important documents, including the Agreement on Customs Cooperation and Assistance; the Joint Declaration on Adaptation and Vietnam’s engagement as convening country in the Global Commission on Adaptation; the Letter of Intent on Unlocking the Land Potential for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security; and the Letter of Intent on the cooperation in the field of Land registration and Land information management. On this occasion, the two sides issued a Joint Statement on the results of the official visit to Viet Nam by the Dutch Prime Minister.

On behalf of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen led the Dutch government and business delegation to pay working visits in Hanoi, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, with many diverse activities such as meeting with local leaders, exploring investment projects of water management, coastal erosion and flood prevention, attending business dialogues and signing ceremonies of cooperation documents among the business community.

From the aforementioned contents, it can be said that the visit to Viet Nam by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his delegation has been successful, achieving many positive results in the following key aspects:

Firstly, to contribute to strengthen the multifaceted cooperation between the two countries in an efficient and sustainable manner, thereby meeting common needs and interests of both sides: Most highlighting is the decision to upgrade the Vietnam – Netherlands relationship to a comprehensive partnership, with a view to effectively harnessing their cooperation potentials, enabling the bilateral ties to expand and deepen with greater dynamism in all dimensions in the years to come.

This is a significant milestone, coinciding with the commemoration of 46th anniversary of diplomatic relation establishment between Viet Nam and the Netherlands (9/4/1973-9/4/2019).

Secondly, to promote bilateral economic, investment and trade relations on the basis of potentials, advantages and development needs: Within the framework of the visit, 23 business agreements were signed between the two sides, covering a wide range of fields such as circular economy, agriculture, renewable energy, environmental protection, urban development and building of smart cities, ocean economy, sea transport, animal husbandry, food safety management, climate change adaptation, water quality, sports, education, football etc.

In the coming period, the expected signing and ratification of the Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) will provide favourable impetuses for the Vietnam-EU investment and business environment in general as well as that of Vietnam and the Netherlands in particular.

Thirdly, to contribute to tightening friendship and people-to-people relations between localities of the two countries: Over the past years, Viet Nam and the Netherlands have established effective partnerships between provinces and cities such as Hanoi – Amsterdam, Ho Chi Minh City – Rotterdam, Binh Duong Province – Emmen and Eindhoven, Vinh Long – Gelderlands, An Giang – Oss etc. Through the working visits of the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen to localities of Viet Nam, the two sides agreed to jointly deploy many specific cooperation activities, especially in the fields that the Netherlands owns vast experience and advantages such as urban planning, environment, water management, industrial and urban waste disposal, agricultural technology development etc.

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