New Nepalese ties via UN’s Vesak day

08:58 | 13/05/2019
While celebrating the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak this week, Vietnam welcomes many leaders and officials from many nations, especially Nepalese Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli, whose official visit could usher in a new chapter for Vietnamese-Nepalese bilateral economic and trade ties.
new nepalese ties via uns vesak day
Nepalese Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli (left) was welcomed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right), photo VNA

Vesak 2019, or the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak, is celebrated at Tam Chuc Buddhism Cultural Centre in the northern province of Ha Nam on May 12-14, the third event of its kind to be organised in Vietnam.

The Vesak 2019 celebration welcomes about 1,500 foreign Buddhist leaders, scholars, and researchers from 105 countries and territories together with heads of state, ambassadors, and representatives of international organisations in Vietnam.

Vietnam welcomed the official visit by Nepalese Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli who is attending the Vesak and had bilateral talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and met with National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on May 11.

The two nations discussed ways to increase economic and trade ties, which remain limited now. They also signed a number of co-operation agreements and memoranda of understanding to further promote bilateral relations. The deals are extremely important for the two countries as they would facilitate Vietnamese businesses to boost exports and investment to Nepal. Specifically, both nations inked a letter of intent on negotiating and inking a framework agreement on trade and investment co-operation.

Over the past few years, Vietnamese telecommunications giant Viettel has been conducting studies in investing in telecommunications projects in Nepal. Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has also established a liaison office in Nepal under a plan to expand business and investment.

Nepalese enterprises are now interested in co-operating with Vietnamese partners in the sectors of telecommunications, tourism, and labour.

In order to expand trade with Vietnam, Nepal has established the Nepal-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the economic and trade relations between Vietnam and Nepal remain humble. As of September 2018, the two-way trade turnover was $38 million, lower than the $47 million in 2017. Vietnam enjoyed a trade surplus with its exports including smartphones, electronics spare parts, garment, footwear, and aquatic products.

Nepal recognised Vietnam’s market economy in October 2014, and supported Vietnam’s bid for membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council in November 2013 and the United Nations Economic and Social Council in the 2016-2018 period, as well as its non-permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.

In related news, Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also arrived to Vietnam on an official visit last week to attend the Vesak. He had bilateral talks with Vietnam’s Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and met with Chairwoman Ngan and PM Phuc.

The two sides agreed to seek solutions to expand bilateral trade and investment ties.

Indian-Vietnamese trade has skyrocketed from $237 million in the 2001-2002 fiscal year [from April to March] to $10.135 billion during 2016-2017, a 4,000 per cent increase in 15 years. Last year, the figure hit $10.7 billion.

According to the Institute for India and Western South Asia, after Vietnam and India established a bilateral strategic partnership in 2007, the turnover hit $2.5 billion in 2008, and $2.8 billion in 2010. However, it was not until 2010 when the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement was established that the bilateral trade turnover began to soar. Within just five years (2010-2015), the figure rose from $2.8 billion to $5 billion. As of April 20, Vietnam had 223 valid Indian investment projects, registered at $913.3 million.

By Thanh Thu

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