Vietnam, Portugal agree on measures to boost comprehensive ties

Vietnam and Portugal reached agreements on numerous measures to promote their relations on June 3 during a landmark visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the first made by a Vietnamese Government leader since the two countries established diplomatic ties 40-year ago.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung (L) and PM Pedro Passos Coelho. Photo: VNA

During talks between the two Prime Ministers, PM Pedro Passos Coelho described the two-day official visit of his Vietnamese counterpart as “historic” and a significant milestone in bilateral relationship. He said he was convinced that the success of the visit would increase the friendship and cooperation between the two sides to a new stage of strong, intensive and effective development.

The Portuguese PM spoke highly of Vietnam’s increasing position, role and reputation in the region and the world.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung congratulated Portugal for its efforts to recover and accelerate economic growth, and appreciated the active role that Portugal has played in addressing global issues.

He said Vietnam would like to develop comprehensive ties with Portugal, adding that the two countries should continue to coordinate and support each other at multilateral, regional and inter-national forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the ASEAN-EU cooperation.

Speaking about relations between Vietnam and the EU, PM Coelho said that Portugal backs Vietnam’s comprehensive ties with the EU, and supports early conclusion of talks on and signing of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, as well as EU’s recognition of Vietnam’s market economy.

The two PM agreed that the FTA, together with the framework agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU, will be solid ground for the development of long-standing and in-depth ties between Vietnam and the EU in general, and Vietnam and Portugal in particular.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at their bilateral economic and trade ties, which continue to grow year by year. Two-way trade increased from 90 million USD in 2008 to 364 million USD in 2014, but was yet to reach its full potential, they said.

The PMs agreed that they should push economic and trade cooperation and create favourable conditions for enterprises from both sides to do business in effort to bring bilateral trade to 1 billion USD.

“The two sides should make efforts to turn economics, trade and investment ties into an important pillar of our bilateral relationship. We should also establish practical ties in areas suitable with their respective strength and needs, such as the maritime economy, energy, trade and tourism,” said PM Dung.

Appreciating Portugal’s initiative to organise the “Sea Week 2015” and expressing thanks for PM Coelho’s invite to the opening of the “Sea Economy Forum”, PM Dung stressed that “cooperation in the sea economy would be an opportunity and a field of great potential for cooperation between the two countries”.

In the spirit of mutual trust and and understanding, the PM exchanged views on regional and international matters of mutual interests. They asserted the importance of peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation to marine economic cooperation, and shared their concerns about the recent complex development in the East Sea.

The Portuguese PM stressed that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, without using force or threatening to use force, in line with the UN Charter as well as the basic principles of international law.

They also agreed that the two sides should boost exchanges between people, and cultural and sports exchanges, which helped strengthen the friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between Vietnam and Portugal.

They expressed their willingness to expand cooperation in education and training, including the teaching of the Portuguese language in Vietnam.

The two PMs jointly chaired an international press briefing following their talks, and witnessed the signing of a bilateral agreement on double tax avoidance and an MoU in tourism cooperation.

Talking to the press, PM Dung affirmed that Vietnam will always create favourable conditions for Portuguese enterprises to develop their business cooperation with their Vietnamese partners.

Regarding the prospect of cooperation in the sea economy, the PM told the press that as countries with long coast lines and maritime strategies, Vietnam and Portugal agree on the importance of the sea for mutual development, security and prosperity, and consider it a field of great potential for mutual cooperation.

The Portuguese PM also told the media that the two sides has discussed cooperation in trade, investment, and culture, and agreed to take measures to boost cooperation between enterprises from both countries.

He reiterated that cooperation in the sea economy will be a priority for mutual cooperation.

In response to reporters’ questions about maritime security and safety in the East Sea, PM Coelho said all differences and disputes must be settled via peaceful measures and comfort with international law under the UN’s surveillance.

The PMs said they were happy with their friendship and cooperation over the past four decades, however, both said they should increase exchanges at all levels, especially high-ranking delegations. On the occasion, PM Dung invited PM Coelho to visit Vietnam

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