Vietnam’s FM Bui Thanh Son Conludes Visit to Austria

Fifty years have passed since the establishment of the relationship, the two countries have enjoyed great strides in bilateral cooperation.

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Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son paid an official visit to Austria on September 28 and 29, which is an important event when the two countries are marking the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties (1972-2022).

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (left) meets his Austrian counterpart  Alexander Schallenberg. Photo: VNA
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (left) meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg. Photo: VNA

During the visit, FM Son paid a courtesy call to President of the National Council of Austria Wolfgang Sobotka, held talks with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg, met with Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher and Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery of Austria Karoline Edtstadler.

During the meetings with Austrian leaders, the FM affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to the traditional friendship and cooperation with Austria. He took the occasion to propose that the two sides increase the exchange of delegations, especially those at high level, and discuss with the Austrian side measures to further expand and deepen multi-faceted collaboration between the two countries.

The Austrian leaders all affirmed respect for Vietnam’s role and position in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed a hope to enhance the bilateral ties in politics-diplomacy, economy, trade, investment, renewable energy, and health care.

The two sides noted with joy that political collaboration and regular high-level contact and visits in the past time have contributed to creating political trust between the two countries and an impetus for cooperation.

Due to the positive effect of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), trade and investment have become a bright spot in Vietnam-Austria ties, with bilateral trade reaching USD 3.35 billion, up nearly 14% from 2020.

The two sides agreed to continue with close coordination to fully tap opportunities created by the EVFTA and facilitate market access for each other’s exports.

At the meeting with Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery of Austria Karoline Edtstadler. Photo: VNA
At the meeting with Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery of Austria Karoline Edtstadler. Photo: VNA

The Austrian side took note for consideration the Vietnamese FM’s proposal that the Austrian parliament early ratify the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement and the Austrian Government supported the early removal of the EU’s yellow card on Vietnam’s seafood.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of expanding cooperation to new fields such as green finance, renewable energy and environmental protection.

President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, introduces the Government building to Vietnamese FM. Photo: VNA
President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, introduces the Government building to Vietnamese FM. Photo: VNA

Regarding international cooperation, the two sides agreed to continue coordinating and supporting each other at multilateral organizations and forums, particularly the UN and the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership.

The two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, and shared the stance on settling disputes by peaceful measures based on international law and the UN Charter as well as respect for the 1992 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

During the visit, the Vietnamese FM also attended the opening ceremony of a “Vietnamese Cultural Space”, the Vietnam – Austria Business Forum and a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-Austria diplomatic ties, and met with officials and staff of Vietnamese Embassy and representatives of the Vietnamese community in Austria.

Delegates at the Vietnam - Austria Business Forum. Source: baoquocte.vn
Delegates at the Vietnam – Austria Business Forum. Source: baoquocte.vn

Since the diplomatic relations were set up on December 1, 1972, the two countries’ relations have recorded progress in all aspects, from politics to economy, trade, and investment.

Mutual visits and meetings between leaders of Vietnam and Austria have been maintained. Most recently, Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue visited the European nation in September 2021 to attend the fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (WCSP5) at the invitation of President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco and President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held phone talks with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz on September 16 last year. In October 2018, then PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid an official visit to Austria.

Austria is currently among the top 10 EU trading partners of Vietnam. Bilateral trade stood at around USD 3.6 billion in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Despite a slight decline due to the pandemic’s impacts, trade has bounced back considerably since August 2020, when the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect.

As of August 2021, Austria ranked 50th among 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 37 valid projects worth over USD 147.5 million, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s statistics.

There are about 5,000 – 5,500 Vietnamese people in Austria at present.

FM Bui Thanh Son Conludes Visit to Austria
A special concert program within the framework of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Austria jointly organized by the Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
FM Bui Thanh Son Conludes Visit to Austria
The Vietnamese FM also attended the opening ceremony of a Vietnamese Cultural Space.
Hannah Nguyen