President Receives Newly-Appointed Ambassadors of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Belgium

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with newly-appointed ambassadors of South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Belgium, who came to present their credentials, in Hanoi on August 5, VNA reported.

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President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and Ambassador of South Africa Vuyiswa Tulelo. Photo: VNA
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and Ambassador of South Africa Vuyiswa Tulelo. Photo: VNA

Meeting with Ambassador of South Africa Vuyiswa Tulelo, President Phuc expressed his belief that she will contribute to promoting the bilateral ties, especially the organisation of activities marking the 30th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2023.

Vietnam always attaches importance to the traditional friendship with South Africa and regards the country as an important cooperation and development partner in the continent, he affirmed.

The President urged the diplomat to coordinate with Vietnamese agencies to step up the exchange of delegations, especially at the high level, through Party, State and National Assembly channels.

Vietnam stands ready to support South Africa to enhance cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said, calling for South Africa’s support and close coordination in promoting the relations between Vietnam and Africa.

Nearly three decades after the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Vietnam-South Africa cooperation has flourished with achievements in major fields of politics, diplomacy, national defence, security and trade, among others.

South Africa is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in Africa with two-way trade reaching USD 1.3 billion in 2021, according to the State leader.

He suggested the two countries strengthen cooperation by diversifying the structure and scale of goods, increasing products with high values and creating favourable conditions for businesses to boost exchanges and seek trade and investment cooperation opportunities.

Along with collaboration in major areas like industry, agriculture and national defence-security, the two sides should foster cooperation in education-training, tourism, culture and climate change response.

For her part, Tulelo pledged to tighten bilateral political – diplomatic ties and beef up cooperation in economy, trade, national defence-security, education and people-to-people exchange, while promoting the image of the two countries to their people.

South Africa is currently Vietnam’s largest trade partner in Africa as the average annual growth rate of two-way trade surpassed USD 1.2 billion in the 2019-2021.

South Africa is viewed as a locomotive in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), therefore its retail network serves both the domestic market and neighbouring countries. Once becoming suppliers for South Africa’s supermarkets, Vietnamese firms may gain major opportunities to access a huge market comprising more than 364 million people and seeing an annual GDP growth rate worth USD 710 billion.

At a meeting between President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Ismaeil A.Dahlwy. Photo: VNA
At a meeting between President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Ismaeil A.Dahlwy. Photo: VNA

At a reception for Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Ismaeil A.Dahlwy, President Phuc stressed that Saudi Arabia is one of Vietnam’s leading economic, trade and investment partners in the Middle East, and called on the diplomat to work to raise bilateral trade to USD 10 billion.

He said trade promotion should be intensified to facilitate the access of the two countries’ products to each other’s markets.

Vietnam hoped that Saudi Arabia will soon remove the ban on importing aquatic products, President Phuc said, pledging to facilitate operations of Saudi Arabia investors in the country.

He also urged the two sides to review and accelerate the negotiations and signing of cooperation documents, especially agreements on investment promotion and protection and crime combat, and improve the efficiency of cooperation mechanisms like the joint committee and political consultation.

The ambassador noted positive developments of the bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, and promised to make every effort to forge the relations between the two countries.

The good political ties are reflected in phone talks and direct meetings between leaders of the two Foreign Ministries and the mutual coordination and support at international organizations. Meanwhile, bilateral trade almost reached USD 2 billion in 2021, up 26.5% over the 2020 figure. Saudi Arabia is currently one of the most important economic partners of Vietnam in the Middle East.

President Receives Newly-Appointed Ambassadors of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Belgium
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Ambassador of Belgium Karl Hendrik Margareta Van Den Bossche. Photo: VNA

At a meeting with Ambassador of Belgium Karl Hendrik Margareta Van Den Bossche, President Phuc emphasised that Vietnam attaches importance to its relations with Belgium as well as cooperation with the European Union (EU) and its member countries.

The President suggested Belgium create favourable conditions for Vietnamese agricultural products to enter the country and the retail system in Europe, and urged the Belgian parliament to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and the European Commission (EC) to remove its “yellow card” warning against Vietnamese seafood.

The two countries should enhance cooperation in green agriculture, renewable energy, digital economy, green economy and personnel training, he continued.

Belgium is Vietnam’s sixth largest importer in Europe with two-way trade hitting USD 4.3 billion last year, up 54% year-on-year, and Belgium’s foreign direct investment (FDI) standing at USD 1.1 billion, President Phuc said, asking the ambassador to pay heed to boosting the trade ties.

For his part, the ambassador said Belgium wants to closely cooperate with Vietnam in education-training, saying the sharing of experience in wind power and green agriculture would help Vietnam achieve the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

With its advantages in seaports, Belgium expects to cooperate with Vietnam to help Vietnamese goods further penetrate into the European market, he said.

The diplomat noted his hope for cooperation opportunities in health care and pharmacy, and promised to foster the bilateral collaboration across fields.

Hannah Nguyen