Irish President Michael D. Higgins and his spouse Sabina Higgins have arrived at Noi Bai International Airport for a State-level visit to Vietnam at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang.
The visit aims to further strengthen ties between Ireland and Vietnam, especially in trade, investment, development cooperation and education-training.
Vietnam-Ireland cooperation has grown since their diplomatic relationship was set up on April 5, 1996 and both nations have conducted the regular exchange of high-ranking delegations and coordinated at international forums.
Bilateral trade hit US$402 million in 2015, up 28% from the previous year and the figure reached US$798 million in the first nine months of 2016, a three-fold year on year increase, including US$82 million of Vietnamese exports.
Vietnam principally ships timber and wood products, footwear and garments to Ireland while importing medicine materials, computers and electronic components.
Ireland currently has poured US$20.7 million into 17 investment projects in Vietnam, ranking 67th among 115 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation.
Vietnam is the only Asian nation among nine priority recipients of Ireland’s development assistance. Ireland provided US$150 million in non-refundable aid to Vietnam between 2007 and 2016, focusing on poverty reduction, support for vulnerable groups, and improving economic management.
In November 2011, Ireland announced a national strategy for the two countries’ development cooperation for 2011-2015 with the aim of assisting the realization of the Vietnamese government’s socio-economic development plan for the five-year period.
The Irish government is expected to reveal a similar national strategy for 2017-2020 in the time to come.VOV