The Vietnam-Kuwait Relations

The Vietnamese Embassy in Kuwait celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the State of Kuwait. It was held at the same time as Vietnam’s 12th national party congress of the Communist party. The congress has already approved Vietnam’s foreign and economic policies for the next five years. The main features of these policies are:

1. Vietnam shall relay its policies based on the principles of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism and diversification of external relations. In addition to this, a positive posture for international integration and looking forward to playing an active and responsible role among the international community. These relationships are based on the fundamental principles of law and international commitments and the new free trade agreements that Vietnam has already signed.

2. Vietnam shall strengthen its relations with partner countries, especially strategic ones, as well as with major countries that can play an important role in the development of the country.

3. Vietnam is determined to play an active role in multilateral forums, particularly at the forum of regional ASEAN bloc, as well as on the forums of the United Nations. The country shall enhance its participation in multilateral mechanism of defense and security related issues including intensive cooperative activities such as peace operations with the UN, military exercises/drills and non-traditional security and other related activities.

4. Apart from the key role in the field of culture, society, science, technology, education and training, Vietnam is likely to play a proactive role by taking further steps towards greater integration of the country towards multilateral trade agreements within the World Trade Organization’s mechanisms. Vietnam has signed 11 free trade agreements and has established extensive trade relations with more than 55 partner countries including 15 out of 20 G20 members that account for 65 percent of its GDP and 50 percent of global trade amongst member countries.

When it comes to the ASEAN economic community, Vietnam has been considered as one of the important and effective members of ASEAN. Vietnam has gradually consolidated its position towards reforming its economy based on liberal economic principles and has integrated itself with almost 59 official partner countries. Over time, the country has attracted a total of more than $250 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) since it has started reforms. Vietnam has been considered as one of the most open economy and has been ranked fifth in the world in terms of trade openness by more than 100 top multinational corporations.

Middle East economies are paying close attention to an emerging Vietnam and the region is likely to take concrete steps towards further promoting trade and economic relations with this emerging South Asian nation.

Nguyen Phu Throng was re-elected as Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam for the next five years at the end of 12th congress. The congress, which usually meets every five years in the one-party state, brings together 1,510 delegates from around the country. These delegates elect the Central Committee, which in turn elects the party’s General Secretary (who used to be the country’s supreme leader) and Politburo members. The outgoing central committee usually elects the next party chief, politburo members, the next prime minister and the next state president, the next national assembly chair and the next cabinet members.

Vietnamese people elect their legislature – the National Assembly – via a direct voting system. The national assembly is being elected for a five-year term by more than 500 delegates countrywide. This assembly elects the President of Vietnam. The president in turn appoints the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the Chief Justice of Vietnam, which is likely to be approved by the National Assembly. The ministers are then appointed by the Prime Minister who are supposed to be approved by the National Assembly.

Forty years ago, on Jan 10, 1976, Vietnam and Kuwait established their bilateral diplomatic relations. Kuwait was the first country among GCC countries which allowed Vietnam to open its embassy. Kuwait was also the first country in the GCC that Vietnam chose to establish its trade representative office in in 1993, and embassy in 2003. Both countries have officially concluded friendly visits to each other. The former Prime Minister of Kuwait HE Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and his Vietnamese counterpart Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung in 2009 visited each other’s countries.

The bilateral trade and economic relationship is well established between the two countries since 1979. Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has provided about $140 million for 13 infrastructure projects. Beside this, Vietnam and Kuwait are now cooperating closely and effectively towards establishing an oil refinery and petrochemical projects in Vietnam. Kuwait has one of the largest investments in Vietnam with a capital of $9 billion. It is expected that once the commercial operations of the projects commence, the total trade volume may reach $2 billion a year by 2020. Vietnam has tripled its per capita GDP to $2,100 over the past 10 years. With a stable political system, Vietnam is likely to emerge as one of the most attractive, stable, secure and emerging destination for foreign investment.

By Javaid Ahmad
local@kuwaittimes.net

This article was published on 31/01/2016