State Secretary of Norwegian Foreign Ministry Visits Vietnam

The guest and the host highly valued the ongoing bilateral cooperation in different sectors of mutual interest such as oceans, climate change, energy transition, and green economy.

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An overview of the ninth Vietnam-Norway political consultation. Photo: VNA
An overview of the ninth Vietnam-Norway political consultation. Photo: VNA

Deputy Foreign Minister Le Thi Thu Hang and State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway Erling Rimestad co-chaired the ninth political consultation between the two foreign ministries, focusing on discussing bilateral cooperation as well as regional and international issues of shared concern.

Hang highlighted achievements in bilateral relations and suggested that the two sides continue to maintain the exchange of delegations at all levels and between the two ministries to strengthen mutual understanding and deepen bilateral political and diplomatic partnership.

As the second largest trade partner of Norway in the region, Vietnam hopes to further bolster economic cooperation with Norway through encouraging and attracting Norwegian firms to invest in Vietnam in the fields of renewable energy, green transition, circular economy, maritime economy, shipbuilding, green sea transport, and logistics, she said.

Hang proposed that Norway and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) speed up the negotiations and signing of a free trade agreement with Vietnam on the basis of harmonised interests, thus creating breakthroughs in bilateral trade and investment collaboration.

She asked for Norway’s assistance to Vietnamese sailors to work on Norwegian-flagged vessels and Vietnamese labourers to work seasonally in the country.

For his part, Rimestad affirmed that the Norwegian Government attaches great importance to cooperation with Vietnam, especially in trade, investment and energy transition.

He said he hopes for progress in the negotiations and signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EFTA.

Rimestad lauded Vietnam’s strong commitments given at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) as well as the bilateral cooperation potential within the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) to which Norway is a member. Norway is willing to provide Vietnam with experience, technical and financial support during the country’s transition to renewable energy, he affirmed.

At the event, Hang and Rimestad discussed measures to bolster cooperation between the two countries in agriculture, education-training, labour, science-technology and security-defence.

Both sides highly valued the potential of bilateral collaboration in maritime economy and green energy, contributing to creating new and practical momentum for the development of partnership in areas of Norway’s strength and Vietnam’s demand.

They also agreed to coordinate closely and support each other at UN agencies and organisations, while enhancing cooperation between ASEAN and Norway. They underlined the significance of ensuring maritime and aviation freedom as well as peace and security at sea, and respecting international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

The two sides also touched upon regional and international issues of shared concern.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) and visiting State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erling Rimestad. Photo: VNA
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) and visiting State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erling Rimestad. Photo: VNA

The same day, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son received the visiting State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi.

Expressing his delight at growing cooperation between the two nations across many spheres in both bilateral and multilateral aspects, Son said the potential for future engagements is ample.

He proposed that the Vietnamese and Norwegian foreign ministries work closely together, increase delegation exchanges, and make efforts to speed up the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the EFTA which groups Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The minister hoped agencies of Vietnam and Norway will study the possibility of establishing bilateral frameworks for joint work in maritime economy and green transition, thus contributing to creating new and practical cooperative impulses in fields that Norway has strengths in technology, experience, and capital and Vietnam has development needs.

In response, Rimestad said Norway considers Vietnam a priority partner in Southeast Asia and wishes to further tighten their bilateral ties.

Based on the current sound relations between the two countries, he agreed that the sides should further promote political contacts and exchange delegations at all levels; push negotiations on the FTA in the spirit of flexibility and mutual benefits; and expand cooperation to areas with potential and of common interest such as oceans, climate change, energy transition and green economy, especially in the context that the two countries have joined the JETP.

Host and guest concurred to strengthen the nations’ cooperation and mutual support at multilateral forums, especially at UN mechanism and within the cooperation framework between ASEAN and Norway.

The State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also took part in a seminar themed “Norway – Vietnam: Cooperation opportunities in aquaculture and seafood export”, organized by the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to mark the official visit to Vietnam by Rimestad.

This event provides a great opportunity for the two countries to revisit a good bilateral cooperation in the fisheries sector and look forward to new cooperation opportunities. It also spreads news about the Norwegian Seafood Council’s plan to bring more seafood from Norway to Vietnam. It also helps the participants to taste Norwegian salmon and other seafood products.

Hannah Nguyen