Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu:

ASEAN, China aim to build an “economic growth centre” in the region

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu on September 17 spoke to the press on Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s trip to China to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS).
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu.

Q: Could you please evaluate the significance and results of PM Pham Minh Chinh’s trip to China to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS)?

A: The business trip to China by PM Pham Minh Chinh and the Vietnamese Government’s delegation to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS), is a high-level foreign activity with great significance.

Within about 27 hours in Nanning, China, PM Pham Minh Chinh and members of the Vietnamese delegation had many effective high-level contacts, such as holding talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang; hosting a reception for the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Liu Ning; attending and delivering his speech at the opening ceremony of CAEXPO and CABIS 20; opening and visiting the Vietnam Trade Pavilion and several booths of Vietnamese localities and Chinese and ASEAN partners at the expo; and receiving representatives of leading Chinese enterprises in the fields of railways, electricity, telecommunications, and construction.

The delegation's activities were successful, achieving the set requirements and goals, especially bringing important significance in three main aspects:

- Consolidating bilateral political trust and relations between Vietnam and China. The fact that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation accepted the invitation of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, to attend the expo and summit, demonstrates the high importance and top priority of the Vietnamese Party and State, to the bilateral relationship with China and is a practical activity to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The talks between the two Prime Ministers continued to consolidate the momentum of close high-level exchanges and contacts between the two sides over the past years, contributing to further concretising high-level common perceptions, especially the official visit to China by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (October 2022) and the results of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's visits to China and attendance at WEF Tianjin (June 2023), the visit to China by the Permanent member of the Secretariat Truong Thi Mai and other senior leaders of Vietnam, helping the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership continue to develop in a stable, healthy, deep and substantive manner.

- Strengthening practical cooperation between Vietnam and China. During the talks between the two Prime Ministers, the two sides discussed in-depth measures to promote cooperation areas with a focus on economics, trade, and transport connections, to fully promote the complementarity of the two economies.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh raised several specific proposals for cooperation in areas of priority and need for Vietnam, such as speeding up the process of opening the market for Vietnamese agriculture and fisheries; creating favourable conditions to soon establish Vietnam Trade Promotion Offices in Chengdu (Sichuan) and Haikou (Hainan), coordinating to improve customs clearance efficiency to avoid goods congestion at border gates; strengthening traffic connections and border gate infrastructure, researching cooperation in planning and building several railway lines in Vietnam; improving the capacity to transport goods both bilaterally and through third countries; Efforts to promote tourism cooperation to soon recover to before the COVID-19 pandemic; working together to completely resolve problems in several cooperative projects in the spirit of "harmonious benefits, shared risks" and speed up the implementation of China's non-refundable aid to Vietnam.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang made a positive response to the above cooperation proposals. The two Prime Ministers agreed to assign relevant ministries, agencies and localities to increase exchanges and try to achieve progress soon.

In discussions with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, the Chinese Prime Minister and Secretary of the Guangxi Party Committee Liu Ning, both affirmed that they will expand the import of goods, especially agricultural products from Vietnam and maintain smooth trade at border gates; encourage potential Chinese businesses to invest in areas that Vietnam prioritises; and strengthen road and rail connections between the two countries.

- Demonstrating Vietnam’s proactive and positive contribution to ASEAN and ASEAN – China cooperation. TheChina-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) are important economic-trade cooperation mechanisms between China and ASEAN. To date, the two sides have cooperated to successfully organise 20 expos. During the 19 previous expos, Vietnam always had Government leaders attending the CAEXPO. Vietnam was also the country with the largest number of participating booths and businesses in ASEAN.

The attendance of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the high-level delegation and the contingent of Vietnamese businesses, at this year’s expo, shows the high importance and active contribution of Vietnam to the ASEAN – China cooperation mechanism on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the CAEXPO.

In addition, PM Pham Minh Chinh visited and encouraged Vietnamese businesses to participate in the expo, which affirmed the message that the Government, ministries, branches and localities are always ready to accompany and support Vietnamese businesses to reach out to the Chinese market, as well as regional and international ones, making great contributions to the common development of the country.

Q: Could you please talk about the special features of this year’s expo and the outstanding contributions of the Vietnamese delegation to the event?

A: This expo itself had many special features. First of all, this edition marked 20 years of the birth and development of CAEXPO and CABIS. This was also the first expo held in person after 3 years of interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, it received great attention and active and vibrant participation from countries, people and businesses in ASEAN countries and China. Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang, Prime Ministers and Senior Leaders of many ASEAN countries and the Secretary General of ASEAN attended the event.

The Vietnamese delegation, led by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, was the highest-level leader, along with several countries attending the expo. The PM was accompanied by four ministers in economic fields, including Industry and Trade, Finance, Construction, and the Committee for State Capital Management at Enterprises; leaders of the Government Office and many ministries and branches, such as Foreign Affairs, Police, Defence, Planning and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Transport, Culture, Sports and Tourism, and State Bank, as well as leaders of seven provinces bordering China and Son La Province (the locality participating in the "Beautiful City" Exhibition at the expo).

Following previous expos, this year, the Vietnam Trade Pavilion is the largest among the ASEAN with the participation of 120 businesses and more than 200 booths, on an area of more than 4,000 square metres. Vietnamese businesses brought to the events a variety of products of Vietnam’s strength, such as agricultural products, seafood, processed foods, footwear, household appliances, garments, wooden furniture, and handicrafts.

The large contingent of Vietnamese delegations and businesses at the events shows the high importance, need and goodwill of Vietnam in realising its comprehensive and extensive cooperation with China, as well as with other ASEAN countries, and its potential and position in bilateral and multilateral economic and trade cooperation and the region.

The Vietnamese delegation and businesses participated actively and fully and made important contributions to the success of the events. The message by PM Pham Minh Chinh on Vietnam's determination and commitments, as well as cooperation proposals concerning the strengthening of development strategic connectivity, transport infrastructure connections and building complete, stable and sustainable supply chains, thereby bringing mutually beneficial economic, trade and investment cooperation between ASEAN and China to new heights towards building an “economic growth centre in the region”, were agreed upon and highly appreciated by other countries.

As an active and responsible member of ASEAN and China's biggest trade partners in the regional bloc, Vietnam will, together with China and ASEAN members, further bring into play the role and vitality of the CAEXPO and CABIS after 20 years of development, open up a new stage, and boost cooperation in economics, trade, investment and other fields between the ASEAN and China, with priority given to balanced and sustainable development, thus bringing practical benefits to the peoples and making active contributions to peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.