Vietnam and Japan Sign 30 Cooperation Documents at Joint Economic Forum

Vietnam is making significant strides in implementing environmentally-friendly cooling solutions. In recent news, the country has showcased its commitment to combatting climate change by rolling out initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions. These efforts are expected to have a positive impact on the environment and contribute to Vietnam's sustainable development goals. In addition, Vietnam and Japan have strengthened their economic ties by signing 30 cooperation documents at a joint economic forum. This partnership is set to promote trade and investment between the two nations, fostering mutual growth and prosperity. Moreover, a business-networking event took place to enhance trade relations between Vietnam and Senegal. This event aimed to provide a platform for business professionals from both countries to connect and explore potential opportunities. Lastly, India MICE visitors had the opportunity to experience river tourism in Ho Chi Minh City, further boosting tourism and cultural exchange between India and Vietnam. These recent developments highlight Vietnam's ongoing efforts to enhance its global presence and foster international collaborations.

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Vietnam News Today (Dec. 17) notable headlines

Vietnam rolls out climate-friendly cooling solutions

Vietnam and Japan ink 30 cooperation documents at joint economic forum

Business-networking event promotes Vietnam-Senegal trade ties

India MICE visitors experience river tourism in Ho Chi Minh City

More room for cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands

Japan is Vietnam’s leading important partner, says PM

Vietnam finishes second at Miss Intercontinental 2023

Ca Mau processed crabs exported to US market

Local artist sets world record for reverse paintings on glass

At a wind power farm in Ninh Thuan (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam rolls out climate-friendly cooling solutions

Vietnam is one of the first 63 countries to join the Global Cooling Pledge proposed by President of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) Sultan Al Jaber within the framework of COP28 recently held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Under the pledge, the global cooling sector must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2050 compared to 2022, helping to maintain the global average temperature increase at the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the objective of achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050.

As one of the countries hardest hit by climate change, coupled with a significant increase in the use of cooling devices in recent years, Vietnam has been aware of the importance of taking adaptive actions to address climate change and protect the environment.

According to the Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, sustainable cooling requirements have been integrated into the tasks and solutions outlined in the National Strategy on Climate Change until 2050 and the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2022.

The department worked with partners and signed Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in order to enhance the country’s capacity of implementing the NDCs, cited VNA.

It built policies and programs to step up the progress of the NDCs in two priority areas of climate change response and sustainable cooling in Vietnam’s urban areas.

To promote climate-friendly cooling solutions against extreme heat in Vietnamese cities, the department in collaboration with the UNEP and the GGGI launched a programme on sustainable urban cooling in Vietnam’s urban areas, with support from the Clean Cooling Collaborative. It is being piloted in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, Tam Ky city in the central province of Quang Nam and Dong Hoi city in the central province of Quang Binh.

Additionally, the department and the UNEP have been working on a programme named “NDC Action Project – Facilitating the Implementation of Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development aligned with National and Global Goals”.

During the 2020-2025 period, Vietnam aims to achieve a 35% reduction in the baseline consumption of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), phasing it out until the complete end of HCFC import by 2040.

Vietnam and Japan ink 30 cooperation documents at joint economic forum

As many as 30 cooperation documents were signed and exchanged by ministries, agencies, localities and businesses of Vietnam and Japan at a joint economic forum held in Tokyo on December 16.

These documents were focused on the fields of infrastructure development of industrial parks, urban areas, commercial centers, green hydrogen production, battery production, energy, finance, digital transformation, and human resource development.

Notably, Secretary of the Thai Binh Provincial Party Committee Ngo Dong Hai awarded an Investment Registration Certificate of Thai Binh LNG thermal power plant project to a consortium of Tokyo Gas, Kyuden Group, and Truong Thanh Group (Vietnam). This is a large-scale project with a design capacity of 1,500 MW and a total investment of nearly US$2 billion.

Among other documents were a cooperation document on infrastructure construction at Van Phong Economic Zone in Khanh Hoa province between Sun Group and Japanese partners, and an MoU on supporting the process of carbon emission reduction and domestic energy transition as well as supporting Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enter the market between the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank For Industry And Trade (Vietinbank) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The exchange of the cooperation documents was witnessed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh who is paying a working trip to Japan for a commemorative summit marking 50 years of the friendship and cooperation between ASEAN and Japan, according to VOV.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attends the Vietnam – Japan economic forum in Tokyo on December 16.

Addressing the forum, Chinh emphasized that the recent upgrade of the Vietnam – Japan relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership is an important political foundation to further expand bilateral cooperation in new areas where both sides have strengths.

As Vietnam is in the process of national industrialization and modernization, as well as deeper international integration, he said it needs foreign resources, including financial support, advanced technology transfer and modern management experience, and human resource training.

Reviewing the world’s complicated situation, the PM likened Vietnam to a safe haven during the height of the storm and called on Japanese businesses to continue to invest and succeed in Vietnam, emphasizing that investors’ success is also Vietnam’s success.

At the forum, leaders of Japanese ministries, organizations and businesses highly appreciated Vietnam’s development potential and showed their interest in cooperation and investment in the Southeast Asian country in various fields, especially future industries, carbon emissions reduction. They presented orientations and proposals for cooperation and investment in green development and digital transformation in Vietnam in the coming time.

Japan has so far poured over US$71.5 billion into more than 5,200 investment projects in most localities in Vietnam. Their investments were centered on a number of key fields such as production and manufacturing; electronic components; research and development; finance; biotechnology; quantum technology; artificial intelligence; and new generation health care.

Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Japan hit more than US$40 billion in the January – November 2023 period. Japan is the partner that has signed the most bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with Vietnam, creating an important foundation to promote trade and investment relations between the two countries.

Business-networking event promotes Vietnam-Senegal trade ties

A hybrid Vietnam-Senegal business-networking event was held in Dakar on December 14, gathering representatives of the Senegalese Ministry of Commerce and about 50 firms from both countries.

Mbaye Chimère Ndiaye, Secretary General of the Dakar Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, described the event as an excellent opportunity for Vietnamese and Senegalese businesses to enhance economic and trade cooperation.

He said the two nations’ friendship and multi-faceted cooperation have traversed over five decades, yielding achievements in potential areas such as agriculture and trade. In 2022, bilateral trade hit US$70.6 million. Vietnam’s main exports to Senegal include peppercorns, confectionery and cereal products, fruits and vegetables, garments, seafood, and rice, among others, reported VNA.

At the hybrid Vietnam-Senegal business-networking event (Photo: Vietnam Trade Office in Algeria and Senegal).

Ndiaye also praised Vietnam’s farming sector and its capacity to provide high-quality human resources training in agriculture and industry. These similarities represent opportunities for private enterprises of both sides to establish mutually beneficial partnerships, he noted.

Hoang Duc Nhuan, Trade Counsellor of Vietnam in Algeria, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia, acknowledged positive outcomes in bilateral trade exchanges. However, he held that the sides’ trade cooperation is still modest and not commensurate with their potential, partly due to a lack of sufficient interest from their businesses in exploring each other’s markets.

He recommended both sides to actively organize trade promotion activities, increase business delegation exchanges, facilitate participation in international fairs and exhibitions, and provide advice to resolve emerging disputes.

Some Senegalese delegates suggested that, in addition to conventional trade, Vietnamese enterprises should consider investing in Senegal, particularly in processing agricultural products (cashew nuts, mangoes, watermelons) and textiles manufacturing to leverage local resources and labor and to export to other regional countries amid the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Senegal’s agencies for foreign trade and export promotion proposed the trade and industry federations of the two nations establish a Vietnam-Senegal business council to facilitate cooperation mechanisms, bring together representatives of the business communities, share useful information, discuss common challenges, and convey firms’ opinions to the governments and relevant authorities.

India MICE visitors experience river tourism in Ho Chi Minh City

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism welcomed 320 Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibition (MICE) visitors from India on December 16.

Earlier on December 114-15, the tourists explored the southern metropolis by touring major local historical landmarks such as Cu Chi tunnels, the Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Saigon Central Post Office, VOV reported.

Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism Le Truong Hien Hoa presents Non La (Vietnamese conical hat) to Indian tourists.

According to Le Truong Hien Hoa, deputy director of the municipal Department of Tourism, offering river tourism is expected to make Ho Chi Minh City a unique travel destination.

Ho Chi Minh City seeks to turn waterway tourism into a distinctive tourism product by 2030. Indeed, it aims to offer waterway tourism services along the Saigon River in collaboration with the neighboring localities of Dong Nai, Binh Dương, Tien Giang, Long An, and Ben Tre.

So far, the local tourism industry has introduced more than 47 waterway tourism products provided by 18 enterprises operating in the city.

More room for cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands

Dutch and Vietnamese businesses need to enhance cooperation, particularly increasing investment in green and sustainable areas prioritized by Vietnam.

The cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands has yielded very positive results across various aspects. However, there is still much potential for collaboration between the two countries, especially in trade and investment.

On Friday, in Hanoi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the seminar “50 years of Vietnam-Netherlands diplomatic relations: Achievements and Prospects.”

Speaking at the seminar, Le Thi Thu Hang, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that after 50 years of diplomatic relations, Vietnam and the Netherlands had achieved positive outcomes. The high-level leadership of both nations affirmed the relationship as “an exemplar of a dynamic, effective, and practical partnership.”

Vietnam and the Netherlands established a Comprehensive Partnership in 2019 and built a unique and effective model. This comprehensive partnership is based on two strategic pillars: “Strategic Partner in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security” and “Strategic Partner in Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management.”

Providing information at the seminar, Le Thi Thanh Minh, Head of the Department of European-American Markets (Ministry of Industry and Trade) informed that in recent years, the Netherlands had consistently been one of Vietnam’s leading trading partners in the EU.

Currently, the Netherlands is Vietnam’s sixth-largest export market globally and second in the EU (after Germany). Conversely, Vietnam is the second largest export market in ASEAN and 15th globally for the Netherlands.

Over the years, Vietnam has consistently been a net exporter to the Netherlands. Key export items to the Netherlands include phones, electronics, textiles, footwear, agricultural products, and seafood. Meanwhile, imports from the Netherlands consist of machinery, equipment, components, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and dairy products, cited VNS.

The Netherlands is also the largest investor from the EU in Vietnam and many Dutch products have been ever-present in the daily lives of Vietnamese, such as “Dutch Lady” milk, Heineken, Philips, and Unilever.

According to Tran Toan Thang, Head of the International Cooperation Department, Institute of Development Strategy (Ministry of Planning and Investment), most Dutch investment projects in Vietnam are of moderate and small scale but are carried out by large corporations and operate effectively.

Conversely, Vietnam currently has nine investment projects in the Netherlands, covering areas such as the import and distribution of telecommunications equipment, automobiles, components, provision of services related to electric vehicle batteries, e-commerce, food services, and agricultural and aquatic product exports.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang speaking at the event. Photo courtesy of MOFA

The prospects for cooperation are promising. According to Thang, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) presents many collaboration opportunities for Vietnam and the Netherlands.

Sharing insights on the prospects for cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands, Hang emphasized that Vietnam highly valued the pioneering role of the EU, including the Netherlands, in promoting the development of a global green and circular economy, contributing to turning current challenges into opportunities for the world economy.

“This is also an area where Vietnam implements the ‘new vision, new thinking, new determination, new action.’ In this regard, Vietnam’s consistent development perspective is green and sustainable, harmonizing economic development with environmental issues,” said Hang.

Opening up some directions for future cooperation between Vietnam and the Netherlands, Le Thi Thu Hang highlighted the need for research and proposals for initiatives, ideas, and projects with a focal point, serving as successful models for green transformation.

Hang also suggested that both sides strengthen cooperation in research and development to make Vietnam a center of innovation, a research hub in the region for green transformation, and the formation of a green hydrogen value chain in Vietnam.

In addition, the business communities of both sides needed to discuss measures to fully utilize the EVFTA, thereby reinforcing and deepening the bilateral trade relations between Vietnam and the EU in general and Vietnam and the Netherlands in particular.

Rosie Nguyen