Czech Republic considers Vietnam most important SEA partner

By Vu Anh   April 21, 2023 | 07:29 am PT
Czech Republic considers Vietnam most important SEA partner
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) shakes hands with Czech counterpart Petr Fiala in Hanoi, April 21 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Vietnam is the Czech Republic’s most important partner in Southeast Asia, said Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala while expressing his desire to promote bilateral cooperation in all fields.

During a meeting with Petr Fiala in Hanoi on Friday, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Vietnam consistently advocates promoting relations with "traditional friends," of which the Czech Republic is a "priority partner."

The two leaders praised the rapid growth of bilateral trade turnover in recent years, especially after two years of implementing the Vietnam - European Union Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). Two-way trade reached $848 million in 2022, up 15% year-on-year.

Both countries agreed to set a target of reaching a trade turnover of $1 billion in the next 1-2 years via the continued implementation of EVFTA.

The two leaders encouraged Czech enterprises to boost investment in Vietnam, especially in the fields of automobile manufacturing, digital transformation, renewable energy, environmental protection, and infrastructure.

Petr Fiala said he was also committed to creating favorable conditions for Vietnam's agricultural and aquatic product exports to the Czech Republic.

Chinh urged the Czech Republic to push other E.U. countries to ratify the E.U.-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Regarding the IUU yellow card on Vietnamese seafood exports, Petr supported strengthening cooperation between the E.U. and Vietnam on sustainable fisheries development and hoped the European Commission (EC) would soon remove the yellow card.

Vietnam received the yellow card in 2017 after several its fishing vessels were caught trespassing in other countries’ waters.

The two leaders agreed to step up cooperation in security, defense, culture, education, training, labor, science, technology, transportation and tourism.

They also agreed they would consider opening cultural centers in each other’s countries, as well as direct routes to promote investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

Regarding the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, the two sides reaffirmed their support for the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

After the talks, both leaders witnessed the signing of cooperation documents in the fields of mutual legal assistance, criminal investigations, investment and education.

Petr Fiala is paying an official visit to Vietnam from April 20 to 22 at Chinh's invitation. The trip is the first to Asia by Petr Fiala since he took office at the end of 2021.

Petr is the first of a head of the Czech Government to officially visit Vietnam in 15 years.

Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1950, the Czech Republic has helped to train thousands of Vietnamese officials, engineers and laborers.

As of last year, the Czech Republic had 41 FDI projects in Vietnam with a total capital of $92 million, mainly in the fields of processing, manufacturing and mining.

The Czech Republic was the first Eastern European country to provide official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, accounting for about $20 million in total.

Currently, there are nearly 100,000 Vietnamese people living in the Czech Republic.

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