Lifting Vietnam-Norway friendly and multi-faceted cooperation relations to a new height

Friday, 2019-05-24 11:30:05
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife are greeted on their arrival in Norway. (Photo: VGP)
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NDO - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Norway, from May 23-26, at the invitation of Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is an important political event, helping to strengthen the friendly and multi-faceted cooperation relationship between the two countries.

Located on the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe, Norway is rich in natural resources, especially in energy, seafood and forests. The country has a stable social and political situation with a highly skilled workforce. Oil accounts for more than half of its exports and one fifth of its GDP. Norway currently ranks third globally in the provision of services for offshore drilling and second in terms of the fleet serving oil extraction.

The Norwegian economy is a combination between a market economy and an economy regulated by the government. Norway’s GDP growth is stable with inflation at 2% and unemployment at 3.5%. Norway is one of the ten largest financial contributors to the United Nations and spends about 1% of its annual GDP on development assistance.

In 2013, Norway provided US$5.2 billion of ODA for 110 countries through various channels. The Norwegian parliament has adopted an Asia strategy, aiming to enhance political relations and expand economic, trade and cultural cooperation with countries in the region. Norway is paying more and more attention to Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

We are pleased to witness the ever strengthening friendly and multi-faceted cooperation relationship between Vietnam and Norway. This fine relationship has been marked by high-level visits and exchanges, most recently Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung’s visit to Norway in 2018. Norwegian PM Erna Solberg visited Vietnam in 2015 and Vice President of the Norwegian Parliament Svein Roald Hansen visited Vietnam in 2016. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Canada in June 2018 and on the sidelines of 12th ASEM Summit in Belgium in October 2018. The two sides have maintained many coordination and dialogue mechanisms and have cooperated effectively at international forums and organisations.

Trade and investment cooperation between the two countries has seen positive progress in recent years. Annual two-way trade reached US$360 million on average. Norway is one of the earliest countries concluding WTO accession negotiations with Vietnam. The European country currently has 41 active projects in Vietnam with a total investment of US$166 million, ranking 41st among 131 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. About 40 Norwegian companies are operating in Vietnam, mainly in wood processing, building materials and interior decoration, agriculture-forestry, seafood, and information and telecommunications technology.

In terms of development cooperation, Norway is currently one of the largest donors for Vietnam in the UN-REDD Programme. Many other projects sponsored by Norway, in education, healthcare, natural resources management, and renewable energy, are also being implemented effectively, helping Vietnam to realise the UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule. Norwegian aid to Vietnam now totals over US$320 million and Norway is one of the few countries still providing ODA for Vietnam.

Cooperation in culture, education-training, tourism, security-defence between the two countries is also strong. The Vietnamese community in Norway has more than 20,000 members, the largest in Northern Europe, of which 90% have Norwegian nationality. In May 2011, the Vietnamese community in Norway established an association of Vietnamese, aiming to united Vietnamese people loving and looking towards the homeland.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Norway is an important milestone to reinforce the friendly, multi-faceted cooperation relationship between the two countries in a new period, strongly boosting bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation. May Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Norway be a great success, bringing the Vietnam-Norway relationship to a new height.