The event was co-chaired by Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai and Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade David Morrison.
The two sides discussed challenges to and opportunities for bilateral trade and investment amid economic and political uncertainties, the shift of global supply chains, and post-pandemic market diversification and economic recovery trends in the world.
Morrison affirmed that his country attaches importance to Vietnam, which has been its largest trading partner in ASEAN since 2015. Bilateral trade has still grown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting a record of 10.5 billion CAD (8 billion USD) in 2021.
The establishment of the Joint Economic Committee reflected Canada’s readiness to enhance and diversify economic links with the key partners in the Indo-Pacific region, he said, adding that his country wishes to further promote the ties with Vietnam through this new mechanism, which matches its commitment to boost its engagement in the Indo-Pacific and the two countries’ common vision for this region, with ASEAN at the centre.
The officials also noted the vigorous growth of the bilateral trade and investment since the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) took effect in 2019 despite the pandemic’s impacts.
The deal has created a big opportunity for Canadian products in the Vietnamese market, especially in the food processing and fisheries sectors. Vietnam goods’ accessibility to the North American market has also been improved as seen in a record export value of 9.8 billion CAD last year.
However, they held that trade and investment cooperation has yet to be on par with potential and still needs to be fostered.
Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to diversify and expand trade by facilitating the export of goods and services as well as investment flows.
Meetings of the Joint Economic Committee are held biennially on a rotational basis, but the next session will be held in Vietnam in 2023 as prompted by the need of the acceleration of the bilateral economic relations in the current context.
Also on July 6, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Global Affairs Canada held a business forum in Vancouver.
Deputy Minister Hai said with their goods structures and advantages complementary to each other along with the favourable conditions created by the two governments, there remains much room for bilateral trade and investment to develop.
He expressed his belief that Vietnam will be a “firm bridge” helping Canada successfully carry out the trade diversification strategy in the Asia-Pacific, and in return Canada will help Vietnam boost trade with partners in North America and the Americas as a whole.
Morrison, an honorary guest at the forum, said thanks to efforts to step up trade and investment promotion, businesses and workers of both countries will further benefit from new supply chains and market diversification.