Vietnam and Austria Strengthen Bond on President’s Official Visit (Jul. 24)

Vietnam is continuing to foster its close ties with Austria, with the Vietnamese President's upcoming visit to the country set to kick off a 3-nation tour that also includes Italy and the Vatican. In anticipation of the visit, a Vietnamese-Austria designer is working to promote the traditional Vietnamese ao dai to the world. With the ongoing efforts being made to strengthen international relations, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City have both made the list of the top 15 best cities in Asia in 2023.

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Vietnam News Today (Jul. 24) notable headlines

Vietnamese President departs Hanoi for visits to Austria, Italy, the Vatican

Vietnamese-Austria designer helps promote traditional ao dai to the world

President’s visit shows close ties between Vietnam, Austria

Hoi An, HCM City among top 15 best cities in Asia in 2023: Travel + Leisure

UK to recognize Vietnam as market economy

Vietnam among world’s 10 friendliest destinations for foreign tourists

Women football: Vietnam-US match draws impressive viewer number

Publishing houses work hard to introduce Vietnamese books abroad

HCM City’s enterprises keep pace with growth momentum

 President Vo Van Thuong and his wife leaves Hanoi on July 23 morning for visits to Austria, Italy and the Vatican.
President Vo Van Thuong and his wife leaves Hanoi on July 23 morning for visits to Austria, Italy and the Vatican.

Vietnamese President departs Hanoi for visits to Austria, Italy, the Vatican

President Vo Van Thuong and his wife left Hanoi on July 23 morning for visits to Austria, Italy and the Vatican at the invitations of President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.

This will be the first visit to Austria by a Vietnamese President in the past 15 years, and the first trips to Italy and the Vatican by a Vietnamese head of state in the past seven years. The President’s visit to Italy will be also the most important highlight as the two countries are celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties, and the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership in 2023.

President Thuong is accompanied by Chairman of the Presidential Office Le Khanh Hai, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung, Secretary of the Party Committee of Vinh Phuc Hoang Thi Thuy Lan, Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Nguyen Trung Kien and Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung, among others, cited VOV.

The visits aim to continue carrying out the external policy of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam on independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, boost and deepen Vietnam’s bilateral cooperation with Austria, Italy and the Vatican. They are also to help strengthen Vietnam-EU ties and contribute to reinforcing ASEAN-EU relations.

Vietnamese-Austria designer helps promote traditional ao dai to the world

Vietnamese-Austria well-known fashion designer La Hong Nhut (commonly known as La Hong), who has won many fashion awards in Austria, has expressed the desire to make more efforts to bolster culture and art exchanges between the two countries through promoting ao dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) to Austrian friends.

La Hong has a special passion for design and fashion. Among his collections so far, costumes inspired by Vietnamese ao dai make up a large part, according to VNA.

Vietnam News Today (Jul. 24): President's Visit Shows Close Ties Between Vietnam, Austria
Vietnamese-Austria well-known fashion designer La Hong (third, left) and participants and models at the programme “Vietnam Day in Austria” held in Vienna late September 2022. (Photo: VNA)

In the programme “Vietnam Day in Austria” held in Vienna late September 2022 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Vietmam-Austria diplomatic ties, participants greatly admired and applauded the performance of the ao dai collection designed by La Hong.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Europe about the reason for him to spend a lot of time and effort to introduce Vietnamese ao dai in fashion shows, La Hong said he loves the traditional Vietnamese costume, which is simple but can provide opportunities for designers to create new designs in accordance with current trends.

La Hong said he has always introduced ao dai in his fashion shows in Austria and Europe.

The designer affirmed that he will continue to explore new ideas from ao dai to promote the image of Vietnamese culture and tradition to the world, expressing the hope that Asian and international friends will own the ones designed by him.

On the occasion of President Vo Van Thuong’s official visit to Austria, La Hong said he is honoured to be one of the individuals invited by the Vietnamese Embassy in Austria to attend the President’s meeting with overseas Vietnamese in Austria and Europe.

President’s visit shows close ties between Vietnam, Austria: GÖV leader

Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong’s official visit to Austria reflects the close relationship between Vietnam and Austria in the context that the two sides have regularly maintained the exchange of delegations at the highest level, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alfred Gerstl, President of the Austria-Vietnam Society (GÖV) said.

He noted that in April, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg visited Vietnam following the Austrian visit last year by his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations.

Austrian business delegations have also made regular visits to Vietnam, showing the significance of economic ties between the two countries, he held.

Along with economy, Austria and the EU have paid great attention to peace and stability in Southeast Asia, he added.

According to Gerstl, for the EU and Austria, the Indo-Pacific region, especially Southeast Asia, is becoming increasingly economically and strategically important. Due to Vietnam’s key role in Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), European countries are increasingly eager to strengthen ties with Vietnam.

In this effort, Austria has a great advantage because it was one of the first European countries to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1972, he said, adding Vietnam’s “Doi Moi” (Renewal) policy with the opening of its economy has created a new impetus for this relationship.

He reviewed a number of milestones in the relations between Vietnam and Austria, underlining that today, the bilateral economic partnership is thriving. In recent years, Vietnam has become the most important trade partner of Austria in Southeast Asia.

Austria mainly imports electronics, especially mobile phones, as well as shoes and garments, along with food, metal products and furniture from Vietnam; while exporting machinery, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and medical instruments. Vietnam is also becoming more and more attractive to investors and manufacturers from Austria and the EU, as the country is well integrated into regional and global production and supply chains. Vietnam can become an important centre of the region, if its infrastructure is further improved, he asserted.

He noted that Austria currently has nearly 60 companies with branches in Vietnam, with a total investment of about 500 million EUR (US$556.42 million). Austria has a high level of expertise in areas where Vietnam needs, such as renewable energy, water treatment and waste recycling. Therefore, the two sides have great potential to further deepen the bilateral relationship, he said.

In order to further promote the bilateral ties, Dr. Gerstl proposed that along with maintaining regular high-level visits, the two sides should strengthen dialogues among businesses.

It is necessary to increase exchanges among scientists and students between the two countries, he said, noting that the programme to send Vietnamese nurses and caregivers to Austria to work and study has been effective, reported VOV.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alfred Gerstl, President of the Austria-Vietnam Society (GÖV) (Photo: VNA)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alfred Gerstl, President of the Austria-Vietnam Society (GÖV) (Photo: VNA)

He also pointed to the need to promote cooperation among localities of the two sides. With its experts and network, the GÖV can work with the Vietnam-Austria Friendship Association to support the stronger connections between the two sides, he added.

Regarding contributions of the Austria-Vietnam Society to bilateral relations, Dr. Gerstl said that since its establishment in 1975, the GÖV has worked to provide Austrian people with information about Vietnam and support people in Vietnam.

After the war ended in Vietnam and the country was reunified, the GÖV’s top priority was to help rebuild Vietnam. In the late 1990s, it sponsored a nursing school for orphans in Ho Chi Minh City, while providing financial support to build schools and kindergartens in Ben Tre province.

According to Dr. Gerstl, the GÖV is interested in Vietnam’s economic and political development, as well as Vietnam’s foreign policy and its growing strategic importance in the Indo-Pacific region.

The GÖV President said that Vietnam, with a population nearly 10 times higher than that of Austria, shares many similarities with Austria in behavior with big countries, especially neighboring ones. Both countries are trying to maintain friendly relations with all major powers as well as with smaller states and to avoid one-sided dependence.

He said that Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Nguyen Trung Kien, and former Austrian Foreign Minister Peter Jankowitsch who also served as the GÖV President for 20 years, made great contributions to deepening the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

He revealed that the GÖV is working to expand cultural activities between the two countries, while supporting cultural events of Vietnamese people in Austria, promoting Austrian culture and art in Vietnam, thus encouraging people of both sides to make greater contributions to strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between the two nations.

Hoi An, HCM City among top 15 best cities in Asia in 2023: Travel + Leisure

Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam are the two destinations standing in the winner list of World’s Best Awards 2023 as the favorite cities in Asia, voted by readers of by US travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

According to the website, whether you’re honeymooning in a dreamy Indian capital or eating your way through an awe-inspiring Japanese megalopolis, this year’s reader picks for the 15 best cities in Asia all share a wealth of options for fantastic food, layers of history, and a glimpse at the magic that happens when ancient history and modernity intersect.

With 87.86 points, Hoi An ranked 13th, followed by Ho Chi Minh City with 87.64 points. Over the years, Hoi An has maintained its position in the rankings of Travel Leisure as well as many prestigious international magazines.

Located in the central province of Quang Nam, Hoi An has long been known for its ancient quarters, a world heritage site, with a typical architectural heritage complex, cited VNA.

A corner of Hoi An ancient town.
A corner of Hoi An ancient town.

Serving as a trading port from the 15th to the 19th century, today it is easy to see the vibrant and lively atmosphere remains mostly unchanged in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An is a walk of life, which is full of things to see, eat and do.

Previously, Hoi An was also honored by Travel Leisure many times as the most wonderful city in the world in 2019, the leading city in Asia in 2020, the top 10 Asian cities in 2018 and in 2021, or one of the 50 best places to travel in 2019.

Hoi An has also maintained its position as one of the world’s 13 most romantic destinations, as selected by CNN.

Unlike the tranquility in Hoi An, Vietnam’s cosmopolitan metropolis – Ho Chi Minh City appears as one of the busiest hubs in the country. The city draws together old and new and historical landmarks that give this city its distinct appeal. The city is also famous for its lively night scene filled with bars, live music and plenty of entertainment for solo travellers looking to hit after dark.

In Ho Chi Minh City, visitors can enjoy street food at Ben Thanh Market, one of the city’s oldest surviving structures. To better understand the heroic resistance wars of the southern army and people, visitors can take a tour of the War Remnants Museum and Cu Chi Tunnels.

The World’s Best Awards survey of Travel Leisure aims to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more.

Topping this year’s list is Udaipur city of India with 93.33 points. Udaipur is no stranger to the top spot on this Travel Leisure list. In the past five years, Udaipur has won the first place twice.

Last year, Travel Leisure readers named Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang in the top 25 best islands in the world.

UK to recognize Vietnam as market economy

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced that the U.K. will recognize Vietnam as a market economy.

The Trade Defense Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade stated on July 21 that the U.K. acknowledges Vietnam’s manufacturing sector as operating under market economic conditions.

This decision comes after the U.K.’s recent entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This will lead to the waiver of unfavorable regulations against goods imported from Vietnam.

The recognition of Vietnam as a market economy by the U.K. is expected to create fairer and better conditions for market penetration and growth in Vietnam. It will also support sustainable production and business activities within the country.

Currently, Vietnamese goods exported to the U.K. already enjoy preferential tariffs due to the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. In 2022, Vietnam’s merchandise exports to the U.K. reached US$5.2 billion, a 9.5% increase compared to the previous year, SGGP reported.

Determining whether a country is a market economy depends on the extent of government intervention in business decisions within enterprises. Countries that exhibit excessive state intervention cannot be classified as market economies, leading to higher dumping margins and trade defense duties.

Vietnam has been recognized as a market economy by 71 countries and territories, further solidifying its position in the global trade landscape.

Rosie Nguyen