Viet Nam’s diversed economic diplomacy in Middle East-Africa

13/12/2021| 17:19

The network of Vietnamese Ambassadors in the Middle East-Africa region has been carrying out vibrant and diverse economic diplomacy activities, with the role of paving the way, accompanying and supporting people, localities and businesses.

Viet Nam’s diversed economic diplomacy in Middle East-AfricaForeign Minister Bui Thanh Son delivered his speech at the webinar "Viet Nam-Africa agricultural cooperation: Enhancing connectivity and ensuring sustainable development together", September 9. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)

The foreign policy line of the 13th National Party Congress determined that national development is the central task of foreign affairs. Accordingly, “all pillars and forces of foreign relations strive to realize the national development visions and goals, of which economic diplomacy is the core.”

In recent years, Viet Nam’s diplomatic activities have been actively conducted, including in the Middle East and Africa. As the political and diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and the countries in this region are increasingly consolidated and deepened, economic cooperation has become one of the bright spots. This is the crystallization of the Vietnamese Ambassadors’ constant efforts to improve the efficiency of economic diplomacy in the Middle East – Africa region.

For the economic benefit of the country

Regarding economic diplomacy for national development, Vietnamese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Vu Viet Dung shared that he is “always well-aware of the task of economic diplomacy and determined to try to do whatever is beneficial for Viet Nam’s economy and its businesses.”

In addition, identifying that Viet Nam’s strengths lies in agricultural products, the Vietnamese Embassy in Saudi Arabia is also recommending that the State should map out a foreign policy of marketing agricultural products towards Saudi Arabia, so that our firms would gain more motivation and confidence in doing business in this market.

Proactive, creative and substantive

Commenting on positive changes in the trade and investment cooperation between Viet Nam and Qatar, Vietnamese Ambassador to Qatar Tran Duc Hung said “it is still modest when compared to Viet Nam’s ties with other Gulf countries”. However, “there is still an immense potential for trade and investment cooperation between the two countries", he said.

On that basis, for Ambassador Tran Duc Hung, the guidelines of economic diplomacy for national development should be towards three elements: proactiveness, creativity and substance.

Regarding the proactive factor, the Ambassador said that he always makes use of contact with domestic businesses interested in the Qatari market. Speaking of creativity, the Embassy has well-harnessed IT application in its work and in connecting Vietnamese and Qatari businesses against the backdrop of COVID-19. In terms of substance, the Embassy has also had many activities to introduce and connect investors with Vietnamese localities and businesses.

Maximize cooperation

Sharing about economic diplomacy, Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Nguyen Manh Tuan said the Embassy “always places economic diplomacy as a top priority in foreign relations, with the motto of maximizing cooperation potentials, taking advantage of every opportunity to bring economic benefits to the country".

Accordingly, the Embassy always actively approaches leaders of UAE’s ministries, services and large enterprises to promote the potential for cooperation with Vietnamese businesses.

Viet Nam’s diversed economic diplomacy in Middle East-AfricaDubai, UAE.

A regular key task

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Do Minh Hung, in recent years, the trade relations between Viet Nam and Israel have developed well with many positive results in import-export, trade, etc. However, the conduct of diplomatic endeavors, including economic diplomacy, is facing a number of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis in Israel.

Ambassador Hung said that the Vietnamese Embassy in Israel always identifies economic diplomacy as “a regular key task to harness the strengths of the bilateral relations.”

In the new context, the Embassy ascertains the need to “be proactive and creative to renew the thinking, to identify new opportunities and to be flexible in order to innovate the way of doing things and take advantage of even the smallest window”.

Thus, the Embassy continues to sustain important drivers of the bilateral trade and economic relations, to successfully advance policy issues such as the early conclusion of free trade agreement negotiations and the launch of labor agreement negotiations.

Let consumers be "addicted" to Vietnamese goods

Vietnamese Ambassador to South Africa Hoang Van Loi said that in order for South African consumers to be “addicted” to Vietnamese goods, apart from the efforts of the two sides, the most important factor is still the businesses themselves.

Ambassador Loi pointed out several pressing challenges. The biggest challenge is that Vietnamese products have to compete with Chinese products, whose strengths of cheap prices and good designs can hardly be denied.

Furthermore, Vietnamese commercial banks have yet to open branches or offices in South Africa. This reality adds to risks and doubts whenever the two countries' businesses decide to sign contracts or start partnerships.

The Vietnamese Embassy and Trade Office in South Africa stand ready to accompany and provide support to enterprises in an active manner, including providing information, checking the legality and operation status of the South African partner.

Strive to do many things well

During nearly half a century of establishing diplomatic ties, Viet Nam and Mozambique have signed numerous agreements, and achieved many encouraging results across various fields, such as security, defense, agriculture, education, culture, etc, and most strikingly, Movitel, a joint venture of the telecom group Viettel in Mozambique.

According to the Ambassador, we need to “focus on keeping a close eye on the local situation and studying local economic policies and development models to promptly provide advice and consultations to enterprises.”

In addition, the Ambassador said that it is necessary to “actively seek opportunities and development resources for the country; create a convergence of interests with partners; build the image and promote potential economic opportunities for both sides; and focus on protecting the legitimate interests of Vietnamese businesses and people abroad.

An important pillar of diplomatic strategy

Aware of the importance of economic diplomacy, over the past time, Vietnamese Ambassador to Morocco Dang Thi Thu Ha has conducted many activities to promote economic and trade cooperation between Viet Nam and Morocco. The Ambassador has also paid special attention to maintaining close ties and regular cooperation between the economic and trade management agencies and enterprises of the two countries.

In addition, the Embassy always focuses on trade promotion, through seeking business opportunities, supporting businesses with finding partners, handling their arising problems, and organizing business connection sessions between the two countries, among others.

Moving forward, Ambassador Dang Thi Thu Ha said that the Vietnamese Embassy in Morocco will “continue to closely follow the instructions on economic diplomacy. At the same time, the Embassy will take measures suitable to the current situation of the host country, with the focus on boosting cooperation, trade and investment promotion activities as much as possible.”

Closely follow the context and the situation

Commenting on economic diplomacy in the new context, Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt Tran Thanh Cong said that “economic diplomacy must closely follow the current landscape and situation, thoroughly grasp the guidelines and policies of the 13th Party Congress, in order to provide practical benefit to the socio-economic development strategy for the period 2021-2030 and the socio-economic development plan for 2021-2025.”

In the past, the Embassy worked with a number of provinces and major economic centers of Egypt. It provides active assistance to enterprises in seeking an understanding of local business practices, finding investment opportunities, protecting their interests, and removing difficulties in commercial disputes with enterprises of the host country.

Focus on promoting tourism

Realizing the potential of tourism from the Kuwaiti people, over the past years, the Vietnamese Embassy in Kuwait has taken the initiative in identifying shortcomings, mainly due to the lack of depth and effectiveness in Viet Nam’s promotion. Since then, many new activities have been implemented to promote our country’s tourism to the people of Kuwait.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Ngo Toan Thang said that the Embassy has built its own social network page on Instagram to promote and keep the images of Viet Nam up-to-date, and collaborates with famous tourism writers in Kuwait to promote Vietnamese tourism.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many obstacles to tourism promotion, according to Ambassador Ngo Toan Thang, the Embassy is still making efforts to promote the image of the country to attract Kuwaiti tourists to come to Viet Nam.

By Chu Van