Business Mirror summarised the interview with Ambassador of Viet Nam, His Excellency, Mr. Pham Viet Chien.
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the National Day of Viet Nam, Business Mirror, interviews the Honorable Ambassador of that Southeast Asian country.
Business Mirror: Could you tell us about the history of National Day of Viet Nam briefly?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: In these days, in Ha Noi and all areas of Viet Nam, coloured with national flags and flowers to welcome National Day – 2nd September, we would like to hare our happiness and joys with Bangladeshi people – the friends of Viet Nam.
I would like take you with me to return to that moment in 1945. Responding to President Ho Chi Minh’s appeal, in August 1945, the Vietnamese people stood up, staged the General Uprising throughout the country to seize power. On August 19, the uprising took power in Ha Noi. Until 28 August, the uprising got victory throughout the country; Vietnamese people became the owner of their country.
In Ha Noi, on September 2nd, at a great meeting of about 5,00,000 people, on behalf of the Provisional Government, President Ho Chi Minh, read the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, now known as the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
But Vietnamese people have to continue the struggle for national independence and reunification, development and international integration. They are the long, patriotic and heroic resistance wars against foreign powers, with the milestones of the Dien Bien Phu Victory in 1954, the General Offensive and Uprising of 1975 that liberated southern Viet Nam and then reunified the country in 1976. The “Doi Moi” policy has been carried out since the late 1980s, which was the main factor leading to the success of Viet Nam’s development and international integration.
Decades ago, Viet Nam was known as a poor, backward country, ravaged by war but nowadays Viet Nam is known as a dynamic and thriving economy. Viet Nam was a embargoed, isolated country. Now, Viet Nam has relations with almost all countries in the world, has established strategic or comprehensive partnerships with all major and important countries in the world, including United States, Russia, India, China, Japan and France, become member of almost all regional and international organizations.
Business Mirror: We know that the relation between Bangladesh and Viet Nam is historical and their friendship is traditional. Could you evaluate this relation?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: About relations between Bangladesh and Viet Nam, I would like to take the words of our leaders that evaluated the relations between our two countries in 2018, when late Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang paid the state visit to Bangladesh. At that time, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed that, “Viet Nam is one of the closest neighbors of Bangladesh, which shares the same aspirations of peace and development, as well as similarities in terms of culture and traditional social values”. President Tran Dai Quang said, “Viet Nam and Bangladesh enjoy an excellent traditional friendship, on the basis of historical similarities, and the shared values of independence, peace, cooperation and development”.
Business Mirror: We know that Viet Nam had very good relation with Bangladesh, also during the regime of our incumbent PM’s father and the Father of Our Nation, Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Ambassador of Viet Nam: Yes! The two countries established diplomatic relations on February 17, 1973, during the regime of the Father of Your Nation, Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Viet Nam received the solidarity and support from the Bangladeshi people and Government even long before that time. I still remember, when I paid courtesy call on Honourable Prime Minister early this year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recalled her memory and she said, “The struggle of Vietnamese against oppressive forces inspired Bangladesh in its Liberation War. As a student leader, I myself led and participated in the protest rallies against Viet Nam War in late years of 60s”.
In very early day, the Government of the People’ Republic of Bangladesh under the leadership of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman did support the national liberation war of the Vietnamese people. In April, 1972, the Finance and Planning Minister Tajuddin Ahmed, addressed a mass rally organised in observance of Viet Nam Day in Dhaka. He declared that the government and the people of Bangladesh always stood by the oppressed people of Viet Nam, and expressed the confidence that the brave Vietnamese people were sure to make their mark in the comity of nations as a free and sovereign nation soon.
It may be mentioned that Viet Nam was among the first countries to recognise independent Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh was also one of the first Asian countries to recognise and establish diplomatic relations with the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet Nam immediately after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
Business Mirror: How has the relation between these two Asian countries been going on in recent times?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: The relations between our countries were built on a solid foundation, so bilateral cooperation, from time to time, have been enhanced and expanded in a wide range of areas: politics, defense, security, economy, trade, agriculture, education and training, culture, people-to-people connectivity, tourism.
Our countries regularly exchange delegations, especially high-ranking Government’s officials, including the top leaders. The visits by top leaders set milestones in the bilateral relations of the two countries. Viet Nam President Tran Duc Luong visited Bangladesh in 2004, President Tran Dai Quang in 2018. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Viet Nam in 2012, President Abdul Hamid in 2015 and Jatiya Sangshad Speaker Ms. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in 2017.
Daily Business Mirror: Could you tell us about cooperation of two countries in international forums?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: In the international sphere, the two countries always collaborate and support each other at regional and international forums, such at the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the ASEAN Region Forum, or the Asia-Europe Meeting, for the interest of our countries and for the sake of peace, security and development over the world.
Business Mirror: Where you find similarities between two countries?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: Viet Nam and Bangladesh have favorable geographic positions, young population, hard working people and a potential market, success in poverty reduction, the promotion of social equality and justice, and sustainable high economic growth rate. Our governments have the same vision in development to be high middle-income countries in 2030, and become a developed country with advanced technology. Our leaders and people have always cherished, preserved the precious tradition for strengthening cooperation. I do believe that Viet Nam – Bangladesh relations will advance forward to the higher level in coming time.
Business Mirror: What are potentials in bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Viet Nam, especially in the economy?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: Nowadays, the relationship between Viet Nam and Bangladesh has many advantages to develop to a new height. There are many that could support to ease doing business, such as:
– Bilateral relations and cooperation have been excellent and expanding in all areas: politic, defense, security, culture, economy and people to people relations.
– Firm commitments and strong support from the leaders and the governments of the two countries in exploiting potentials and strengths to expand, enhance and deepen bilateral relations, for the interests of our two countries and people.
– The two countries share many similarities in economic, cultural and social background, have favourable geographical location in South East Asia and South Asia, the bridge between the Asia-Pacific and the South Asia-Indian Ocean regions.
– The two countries have young population and a huge and potential market, success in poverty reduction, high economic growth rate.
Regarding potential areas and forms of cooperation, there are many opportunities and choices for doing business that I could point out:
– To trade in the commodities in which each side has an advantage.
– To cooperate and to invest in potential sectors, such as in telecommunications, information technology, AI; Agriculture, food processing, animal husbandry and aquaculture; Textile, oil and gas, building materials, infrastructure development and services, or logistics, and so on.
– To invest in each other, maybe 100% foreign capital project, or investment to form joint ventures, associations or production chains.
– We may not consider each other as competitors in the international market, for example in textiles and garments, in which Viet Nam and Bangladesh are the 2nd and 3rd exporters. But, I do think, the two countries, Vietnamese and Bangladeshi need and could coordinate and cooperate, support each other in dealing with importers in the world markets.
– To exchange and share with each other’s experiences, ideas and informations.
Economic cooperation in the recent years has developed significantly, especially bilateral trade, but the development is not yet equivalent to our potentials. The highest official trading volume was nearly US$900 million in 2017, but only over 750 million USD in 2019, slightly lower. The trade gap between two countries is still big and the trade balance now is in favour of Viet Nam.
President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to exert greater efforts to double the two countries’ two-way trade to $2 billion. The Joint Trade Sub-Committee of our two countries has agreed to reach that goal by 2021.
Besides, the value of investment to each other is still at low level. Bangladesh has more than 100 special economic zones with attractive incentive packages for foreign investors.
With the network of many FTAs with partners around the world, Viet Nam can offer Bangladeshi businessmen a lot of opportunity to benefit from its competitive tax regime. Many foreign investors and exporters see Viet Nam as a safe and attractive destination for investment and export, even now in the pandemic of Covid-19.
Bangladesh can attract more investment, businessmen from Viet Nam, and Viet Nam has to do the same, attracting more Bangladeshi.
Business Mirror: How the scopes in bilateral economic relations can be exploited most effectively?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: It is important to promote further the cooperation between the two countries, two peoples, the business community. We need to further introduce and promote to each other about our countries, peoples, cultures and so on. Only when people of the two countries understand clearly about each other, they would like to start doing business.
Business Mirror: What is the Vietnamese Embassy in Dhaka doing for enhancing cooperation between these two brotherly nations?
Ambassador of Viet Nam: The Embassy of Viet Nam always opens and welcomes you. At the Embassy, we are doing our best to help you learn more about Viet Nam and we will work together with Bangladeshi to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between our two countries.
I, myself, welcome the business community and people of Bangladesh to visit Viet Nam to see the socio-economic activities in Viet Nam, to know more about Viet Nam and to find opportunities to do business.
Bangladesh and Viet Nam are at the very important, decisive moment of further development, to realize our nations’ dreams of Uncle Hồ and Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. As traditional good friends, I strongly believe that Bangladesh and Viet Nam will work closely together and support each other to realize our goals for the well-being and prosperity of our peoples and Sonar Bangla.
Daily Business Mirror: Thank You! On behalf of the Business Mirror family and our renders in Bangladesh and across the world, we also congratulate you and all in Vietnamese Embassy in Dhaka, the government and all Vietnamese in their motherland and across the world, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the National Day of Viet Nam.
Ambassador of Viet Nam: Thank you, too! On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the National Day of our country, the Viet Nam Embassy also wishes to Business Mirror family, its readers, the government of Bangladesh and all Bangladeshi people.