Elevating Vietnam-Canada relations

Wednesday, 2017-11-08 11:11:00
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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) meets with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G7 Summit 2016 in Japan.
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NDO – At the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is paying an official visit to Vietnam from November 8 to 9, on the occasion of the 2017 APEC Summit in Da Nang city. The visit marks a significant milestone, contributing to elevating the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Canada.

Canada is located in the northern part of North America with an area of over 9.9 million square kilometres (the second largest country in the world, behind Russia), possessing a population of around 36.7 million and a wealth of natural resources throughout its territory. The country is bordered by the United States, the Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state, represented by the Governor General of Canada. With the seventh largest economic scale in the world, Canada is a member of the Group of Eight (G8), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. The Canadian economy is in a recovery momentum from the 2011-2015 recession, with the country’s 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) growing more than 1% from the previous year.

Since coming to power following the 2015 general election, the Government of PM Justin Trudeau has implemented a number of policy reforms, with the ultimate goal of restoring the status of a middle-class power in the world. With regards to its home affairs, the Canadian Government advocates enhancing the welfare of the middle class, stimulating economic growth and consolidating national defense. In relation to its foreign affairs, Canada maintains a “Looking Westward” policy with high priority given to its relations with the United States and Europe. The country also advocates facilitating cooperation with China, Russia, and India; valuing ties with the ASEAN; and playing an active role in multilateral forums, contributing to addressing regional and global issues. Canada supports the respect of international law, the guarantee of aviation and maritime freedom, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Vietnam and Canada first established diplomatic ties in 1973. The bilateral relations have recorded active developments over the past few years, with meetings between the two countries’ senior leaders having been strengthened, the exchange of delegations increased, and cooperation enhanced in the fields of politics, foreign affairs, economics, trade, education, training and development assistance. In September 2014, the two countries signed a Letter of Intent on consolidating and strengthening their bilateral relations. In July 2017, the first political consultation at the deputy foreign ministerial level between the two sides was conducted.

Vietnam is currently Canada’s largest trade partner in Southeast Asia and also a priority market in the country’s Global Markets Action Plan. Two-way trade has grown steadily in recent years, with an annual increase of between 20% and 25%, reaching US$4.1 billion in 2016 and US$2.34 billion in the first eight months of 2017, up 20% over the same period last year. Canada is the 13th largest of the total 112 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, currently running more than 160 valid projects with a total registered capital of US$ 5.1 billion. Since 1990, Canada has been one of the leading providers of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, mainly in the fields of economic reform, hunger elimination, poverty reduction, agriculture and environment.

The two countries have maintained their security and defence cooperation, whilst promoting collaboration and connectivity between their localities. The number of Vietnamese students in Canada has doubled over the past decade, putting Vietnam at number one among the ASEAN countries in terms of the number of overseas students in Canada. The two sides have also supported and actively coordinated with each other at international forums, especially in the areas of military disarmament and international trade.

Taking place as the bilateral relations are actively growing, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s official visit to Vietnam offers an important occasion for the leaders of both sides to discuss and agree on measures aiming to further promote the friendly and cooperative relations that exist between them in a more substantive and effective manner.

May PM Trudeau’s official visit to Vietnam be a success, contributing to creating a new foundation and motivation for the elevation of the Vietnam-Canada relations and the facilitation of cooperation between the two sides, aiming to bring about practical benefits for the two countries’ peoples and contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world.