Vietnam-Norway relations at new height

The visit took place on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. President Tran Duc Luong welcomed the Royal couple and highlighted the assistance of Norway to Vietnam during the resistance war as well as in the peaceful construction. For his part, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai underlined the co-operation between the two countries on trade and investment.
     According to Norwegian Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Borge Brende, the biggest ever business mission from Norway has clearly shown the interest in the co-operation with Vietnam, especially in oil, gas and fisheries.
     However, the bilateral trade does not commensurate with the potentials and aspirations of the two countries. The two-way trade in 2003 was only some US$28 million.
     Norwegian Ambassador Per G. Stavnum found the cause in the lack of market information and called for the exchanges of visits between the two countries. VCCI President Vu Tien Loc believed that with existing potentials, the two countries will soon achieve expected results.
     Ms. Ellen D. Gjeruldsen, Trade and Service Federation of Norway, stressed that to enter Norwegian market, Vietnamese products must be good in quality and style so as to compete with products from other South East Asian countries and China and once Vietnamese products can get into Norway they can easily find way into other Nordic countries.
     Presently, Vietnam exports to Norway rice, aquaproducts, canned vegetable, coffee, rubber, footwear and imports from Norway equipment, chemicals. The abolition of quota on Vietnamese garment in Norwegian market will increase the trade value between the two countries. The signing of agreements on double taxation, development co-operation, and bilateral trade will also help promote the trade relations between the two countries.
     Speaking at the Norway-Vietnam Business Day, Mr. Loc considered the visit of the business mission as the reaffirmation of further development in the bilateral trade.
     Regarding investment, though Norway ranks 31st among 66 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, it has been focusing on most potential sectors.
     In 1975-1980, Norway assisted Vietnam some US$50 million in grant aid, built Haiphong refrigeration factory, Ha Long fishing boat, Rach Gia fish feed factory, Bien Dong research ship, cold storages in Cua Hoi, Hon Gia, Rach Gia, etc. In 1999, Norway started a comprehensive strategy assisting Norwegian companies in developing countries, including Vietnam. By the third quarter of 2004, among Norwegian 14 projects licensed, 12 are under operation with the total registered capital of over US$45.16 million, implemented capital of US$15.3 million, or 33.98 percent of committed capital.
     During the visit, Norwegian entrepreneurs can have a better understanding of Vietnamese market and will soon join in with existing companies as Jotun, Yara to do business in Vietnam, especially in energy, processing industry, fisheries, minerals and other services.
     During the visit, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Petersen and Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc signed Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in the next five years in which Norway will assist Vietnam US$10 million a year to support the economic development, administrative reform and education. Also, Minister of Fisheries Ta Quang Ngoc and Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Svein Ludvigsen signed agreement of the drafting of Fisheries Law and sub-laws worth US$3.66 million to improve the management and development of fisheries in Vietnam.
     The visiting delegation has also visited the Literature Temple, Fine Arts Museum and presented the Museum three paintings of Per Kleirva. The Norwegian Queen has also reaffirmed the assistance in the protection of traditional culture, development of education especially among handicaps and ethnic minorities.
     The visit has opened up a new era for the co-operation of the two countries.

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