Vietnam: Brazil’s Strategic Ally in Southeast Asia

For the past 35 years, the multifaceted relationship between Vietnam and Brazil has been increasingly growing, resulting in more substantive and efficient outcomes. This is a direct result of closer political connections and trust, as well as increased economic and trade cooperation. - Vietnamese Ambassador to Brazil Bui Van Nghi

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Vietnam and Brazil have enjoyed a 35-year relationship marked by positive developments across all sectors, with stronger political ties, increased economic and trade cooperation, and a growing sense of trust, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Brazil Bui Van Nghi.

In an interview with Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Vietnam-Brazil diplomatic relations and the 17th anniversary of the bilateral comprehensive partnership, the diplomat noted that this coincides with the first year of implementing the joint statement issued by leaders of the two countries during Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Brazil in September 2023, the first visit by a high-ranking Vietnamese leader to the Latin American country in 16 years.

Since September 2023, Brazil has sent two ministerial-level delegations to Vietnam. During Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Luciana Santos’ visit in November 2023, the two sides discussed potential areas of collaboration, including artificial intelligence, digital transformation, semiconductors, and biotechnology, he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Eduardo Paes Saboia (left) and Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc during their visit to Vietnam in June 2023. Photo: Kinh Te Xay Dung

During his visit in April, Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira extended President Lula da Silva’s invitation to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to attend the G20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro and discuss measures to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

Along with the robust political and diplomatic ties, bilateral economic and trade partnerships have flourished, serving as a foundation for the long-term relationship between the two nations.

Last year, two-way trade exceeded 7.11 billion USD, the ambassador noted, adding that the figure reached 2.2 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, with Vietnam’s exports increasing by 5.5% year-on-year to 676 million USD.

Businesses from both countries have expressed a keen interest in strengthening their partnerships, particularly in agriculture, he said.

Brazil is currently Vietnam’s largest trading partner in Latin America and its second largest in the Americas, after the United States. Conversely, Vietnam is Brazil’s leading partner among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

Ambassador Nghi affirmed that bilateral collaboration has also expanded into other areas such as science, technology, and culture, particularly sports, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. At a meeting between the Vietnamese Embassy and the Rio de Janeiro city government in March, the Brazilian side expressed its willingness to support the development of Vietnam’s youth, women’s football teams, and futsal teams.

Commenting on the prospects of the Vietnam-Brazil relationship, the diplomat said that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to Brazil in September 2023 demonstrated Vietnam’s desire to strengthen bilateral political trust and foster collaboration in all fields, including politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, investment, culture, education, and tourism.

Vietnam and Brazil are working together to enhance the effectiveness of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Agriculture and Science, Technology and Political Consultation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs. They are also expanding dialogue and cooperation among ministries, sectors, and businesses, and finalizing the legal framework to promote cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, people-to-people exchanges, and collaboration among friendship organizations and localities.

He expressed hope that this year, the two sides will continue to increase delegation exchanges at all levels. Vietnam hopes to welcome Brazilian President Lula da Silva this year. The ambassador anticipates that these activities will generate a positive response from businesses in both countries, particularly in the fields of science and technology, agriculture, agricultural product processing, sports, tourism, healthcare, and education.

The ambassador expressed his wish for Vietnam and Brazil to enhance sports, cultural and artistic exchanges, and people-to-people interactions in the coming period.

At multilateral forums, moving forward, Vietnam and Brazil should deepen their coordination based on shared values such as support for an international system founded on multilateralism, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, with the United Nations (UN) as the central pillar for global governance, stability, and prosperity, he said.

Vietnam needs to strengthen cooperative relations with Brazil in particular and countries in the region in general, especially those in the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR), which will facilitate negotiations for a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the bloc. Brazil is committed to expanding relations with ASEAN and its member states, and exploring new opportunities for cooperation in energy transition, science, technology, innovation, and industrial and agricultural policy, while Vietnam plays a key role in this agenda as an important partner of Brazil in Southeast Asia, he said.

The diplomat also highlighted several activities planned to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Vietnam-Brazil diplomatic relations and the 17th anniversary of the bilateral comprehensive partnership, including a friendship meeting hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil in March. The Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil and the Brazilian Embassy in Vietnam intend to organize a week of film, painting, and photo exhibitions in both countries this year.

The Brazilian side has proposed activities to commemorate President Ho Chi Minh in Rio de Janeiro, including naming a street after Vietnam and holding a painting contest on the Vietnamese leader’s visit to the city, said the diplomat.

Charlotte Pho