PM’s visits tighten ties with Norway, Sweden

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visits to Norway and Sweden have opened up opportunities for closer relations and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and the two northern European countries. 
Vietnam, Norway boost economic ties

During his visit to Norway, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and had meetings with His Majesty King Harald V and President of the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) Tone Troen.

At their talks, the two prime ministers acknowledged the strengthening and broadening of bilateral relations between Vietnam and Norway. They reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen economic, trade and investment relations in a sustainable and inclusive way. The two leaders expressed their countries’ commitment to seeking an early conclusion of the negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and EFTA (Eropean Free Trade Association).

The Prime Ministers encouraged the business communities of both countries to continue to promote and expand their trade and investment cooperation, especially in important areas such as the ocean economy, green and renewable energy, information technology and consumer goods. They welcomed the Vietnam-Norway Business Forum held in Oslo in connection with the visit.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc holds talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg.
Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The two prime ministers hold a press conference after their talks. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The Vietnamese leader has a meeting with Norwegian King Harald V. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He meets with President of the Norwegian Parliament Tone Troen. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA 

PM Phuc witnesses the signing of cooperation documents
between Vietnamese and Norwegian enterprises. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He attends the Vietnam-Norway Business Forum in Oslo. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

PM Phuc has a reception for leaders of Norwegian groups,
including Kongsberg, DVL-GL, Pharmaq, Vard, Jotun and Scatec Solar. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The Vietnamese leader tours Pharmaq, a manufacturer of vaccines in aquaculture. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He visits Kongsberg Maritime. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA
The two leaders encouraged ministries and agencies in the two countries to expand their bilateral dialogue and cooperation in education, tourism, sport, culture, people-to-people exchange, and in areas relating to the women, peace and security agenda, including UN Security Council resolution 1325.

Norway and Vietnam are both under review by the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Working Group this year. Both leaders highlighted the importance of the UPR process as a universal, transparent, state-led peer review mechanism based on dialogue and cooperation.  Both sides acknowledged the constructive human rights dialogue between Vietnam and Norway, and highlighted the importance of the rule of law, human rights, and the implementation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and commitments made under regional and international free trade agreements.

The two PMs agreed  that if Vietnam and Norway are elected non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the periods 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, respectively, this will provide a good opportunity for the countries to work together to promote regional and global peace and security cooperation. 
The leaders also emphasized their shared commitment to inclusive and sustainable development, as reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

They applauded the important action taken by many countries to tackle the issues of climate change, sea level rise and marine plastic litter. Prime Minister Erna Solberg referred to ongoing and new regional projects on marine litter involving ASEAN member states. She welcomed Vietnam’s attendance at the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo in October this year.

The two leaders compared notes on regional and international issues of mutual concern. They agreed to enhance cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, especially in the UN, the ASEAN-Norway Sectoral Dialogue Partnership, and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

They expressed their support for efforts to promote peace, stability, cooperation and friendship in South East Asia. They reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding the freedoms, rights and duties set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides the legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas, and called on all parties to settle any disputes through peaceful means and in accordance with international law.

Vietnam-Sweden trade cooperation expanded

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Sweden has further tightened the traditional relations between the two countries. Besides their fruitful politic cooperation, trade collaboration between the two countries has developed increasingly.

According to statistics of Vietnam’s General Department of Customs, two-way trade has been on the rise in recent years, hitting over 1.3 billion US dollars in 2017 and 1.5 billion US dollars in 2018. Sweden’s exports to Vietnam include machine and equipment for engineering industry and telecom, while the country imports from Vietnam footwear, garments and textile, wood products, telephones and components.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on May 27 received Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
during the latter’s official visit to Sweden from May 26-28. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The two prime ministers hold talks. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

They attend the Vietnam-Sweden Business Forum and
witness the exchange of cooperation documents between the two countries. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The Vietnamese leader has a meeting with Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Andreas Norlen. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

PM Phuc delivers a speech at the Vietnam-Sweden Business Forum. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He receives leaders of Swedish groups  which are operating in Vietnam,
including Electrolux, Oriflame, Scania, ABB, Ericsson and Volvo. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He visits AstraZeneca in Sodertalje, a leading pharmaceutical enterprise of Sweden. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The Vietnamese leader visits Stockholm Exergi. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

He pays a visit to Ericsson. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The flow of Swedish investment in Vietnam has risen sharply. By March 2019, Sweden had ranked 33rd out of 131 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 67 valid projects worth 364 million US dollars. Many big firms of Sweden have marked their presence in the country, including Ericsson, ABB, IKEA, Electrolux, Volvo and H&M. Vietnam has also invested two projects worth 697,000 US dollars in Sweden.

The two countries have signed two agreements on culture and communications. The Vietnam National Academy of Music has collaborated with Swedish music schools in training Vietnamese traditional music, and organizing training courses on screenplay writing, and filmmaking and directing.

Regarding tourism, the number of Swedish visitors to Vietnam rose nearly 17% from 2016 to 44,045 in 2017 and 49,723 in 2018. Vietnam has unilaterally exempted visa for Swedish citizens and opened weekly flights from Stockholm to Phu Quoc.