Desires coincide with possibilities
Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, makes official visit to Minsk
Belarus expects to surpass half a billion dollars of trade with Vietnam in coming years, emphasised the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, on meeting the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng.
Mr. Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is ready for close liaison with Vietnam, saying, “We really appreciate your co-operation in entering neighbouring, third country markets. This is greatly beneficial to us while being far from detrimental to Vietnam.” The President expressed confidence that the Vietnamese PM’s visit to Belarus will enhance our relations in all spheres, helping raise today’s turnover of almost $200m. He believes even greater volumes to be possible, noting, “Current turnover does not meet that which is surely possible with such a gigantic country, of 90 million people; Vietnam is also a country with which we have no problems.” The Head of State added that there are no closed topics in our bilateral relations, commenting, “We do not hide anything from anyone and can work in all areas — from the supply of commodity goods to civilian military-technical co-operation,” said Mr. Lukashenko.
The President drew attention to the fact that Belarus and Vietnam have no disagreements on the international agenda and have always adhered to the same position. “We consider your proposal for Vietnam to be elected onto UN bodies to be reasonable and will support you as your friends,” he assured the Vietnamese PM.
Mr. Lukashenko added that Vietnam is a key state for Belarus in South East Asia for a number of reasons. “The main reason that we are focusing on Vietnam is that we are old friends, having known each other for a long time; we were with you in the most difficult times you’ve experienced,” said the President.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam stressed that our nations enjoy strong, long-standing ties of friendship and that the Vietnamese people will never forget the assistance provided by Belarus in hard times. “I’d like to assure you that Vietnam’s leadership and the Vietnamese people have the desire and ability to do everything possible to co-operate with Belarusian friends in all spheres, taking bilateral relations to a higher level,” said Nguyễn Tấn Dũng.
Belarus and Vietnam have signed commercial contracts worth over $100m and, next year, a free trade zone agreement may be signed between the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, have discussed the move previously. Of course, Vietnam is known as one of the most powerful members of the economic block of South East Asia: ASEAN.
Mr. Myasnikovich believes that Vietnam will be interested in purchasing Belarusian unmanned aircraft and in joint projects in the field of biotechnologies and information technologies, and computer-aided design of micro- and nano-electronic systems. Belarus offers various mechanisms of financial support for joint business projects, including export credits, insurance and international leasing. Belarus is ready to assemble its top selling automobile and tractor agricultural machinery in Vietnam, as well as setting up local production of food and agricultural products. Joint ventures could also see the production of coffee in Belarus and dairy products in Vietnam.
Without doubt, both states will benefit from a free trade zone agreement between the Customs Union and Vietnam, since Vietnam would be the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to commence such a relationship. The Belarusian PM views this as having global significance, making ‘an economic bridge between two world economic blocs: the CES and ASEAN’. The initiative has extra impact taking into account the slump in the European market.