Substantial potential for Vietnam, Canada to advance relations: ambassador

Vietnam and Canada have obtained numerous achievements in bilateral relations over the last 50 years, but there remains substantial potential for them to advance those ties, said Vietnamese Ambassador to the North American country Pham Vinh Quang.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Vinh Quang grants an interview to the Vietnam News Agency. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Vinh Quang grants an interview to the Vietnam News Agency. (Photo: VNA)

He made the remarks during an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relationship (August 21, 1973 - 2023).

Highlighting the countries’ long-standing connections, he said the two sides have maintained frequent high-level mutual visits and meetings, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Vietnam in 2017, during which the comprehensive partnership was set up, and Vietnamese PM’s attendance in the G7 Summit in Canada in 2018 and meetings with his Canadian counterpart on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in November 2022 and the G7 Summit in Japan in May 2023.

The countries have shared many common viewpoints on regional and international issues. Meanwhile, the Vietnam - Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group was established in 2021 and the Canada - Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group, last year.

Trade and investment are among the priority areas of their relations. Vietnam is currently Canada's largest trade partner among the ASEAN, which in turn ranks second, after the US, among Vietnam's trade partners in the Americas. Bilateral trade has continually posted at a double-digit growth rate annually, reaching 7 billion USD in 2022 (or 13 billion USD, including the goods transited through the US, as calculated by Canada).

As of the end of last year, Canada ranked 14th among the 130 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with nearly 250 projects worth almost 5 billion USD. Vietnam invested 150 million USD in Canada, equivalent to 47.5% of its total overseas investment, statistics show.

The two sides established a joint committee on economic affairs in 2022 to foster cooperation in this regard, Quang went on.

He also underlined the developing collaboration in defence - security, education, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, and locality-to-locality ties.

Since 1990, Canada has remained one of the biggest suppliers of development assistance for Vietnam, with a total value of about 2 billion CAD (nearly 1.5 billion USD).

Talking about the potential of bilateral ties, the diplomat said both countries share many common viewpoints on regional and international issues; wish to develop an Asian-Pacific region of peace, stability and development on the basis of international law such as the United Nations and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); and want to build order, rules, and regulations on seas, including the East Sea.

Recently, Canada has paid more attention to regional cooperation as seen in its adoption of an Indo-Pacific strategy last November. This September, it will upgrade relations with ASEAN to a strategic partnership. These are important stepping stones for the two countries as both wish to nurture sound relations between ASEAN and Canada so as to help promote their ties, according to him.

In terms of economy, trade and investment, Canada is a G7 member and the world’s 14th largest economy while Vietnam is a developing country with a population of about 100 million, a dynamic and capable workforce, a large market, and attractiveness to foreign investment. Canada views Vietnam as a gateway for it to enter other markets in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific.

Quang perceived that Vietnam can make use of the North American country’s advantages in technology and science to support its industrialisation, modernisation, infrastructure development, green economy, energy transition, and climate change response.

Another advantage of bilateral ties that should be tapped into is the community of about 300,000 Vietnamese people in Canada, which is a great resource for the relations to grow in all fields, including people-to-people exchanges, education, and development cooperation.

Regarding cooperation at multilateral forums, the two countries have cooperated with each other within the frameworks of ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the International Organisation of La Francophonie, and the UN. This is a basis for them to cooperate closely in multilateral issues, he said.

The ambassador went on to say that 2023 is a memorable year when the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Vancouver have been holding various celebratory events alongside the activities held by Vietnamese ministries and sectors, and the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

He expressed his hope that thanks to those activities, the countries can promote cooperation to a new height.