The upcoming visit to Canada by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his attendance at the expanded Group of Seven (G7) Summit from June 8-10 offers good chances for Vietnam to enhance its ties with Canada and other G7 countries.
Strengthening mutual understanding, trust
Vietnam and Canada established diplomatic ties in 1973 and began the exchange of high-ranking delegations since 1994. During a visit by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in September 2014, the foreign ministers of Vietnam and Canada signed a Letter of Intent on consolidating and boosting bilateral relations. In September 2016, when Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion visited Vietnam, the two sides agreed to promote cooperation in seven fields mentioned in the Letter of Intent, with a focus on trade-investment and education-training.
On the occasion of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official visit to Vietnam in November 2017, the two countries issued a joint statement on the establishment of their comprehensive partnership, which set forth basic principles for bilateral relations along with orientations and measures to foster bilateral partnership in the seven fields of politics-diplomacy, trade-investment, development cooperation, defence-security, culture-education, science-technology, and people-to-people exchange.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November 2017
Vietnam is currently Canada’s biggest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with bilateral trade reaching nearly 5 billion USD in 2017. Canada ranks 14th among 112 nations and territories investing in Vietnam with 149 projects worth a total of 4.1 billion USD.
Recently, Canada announced official development assistance (ODA) for a project to develop cooperatives in Vietnam, another to help the country respond to climate change and two others on food safety.
Bilateral cooperation in education and training is enjoying strong growth, with the number of Vietnamese students in Canada rising twofold in the past 10 years to 12,000, the largest among ASEAN countries.
Many Vietnamese and Canada localities have established ties, for example, Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province and Langley city of Canada, Ho Chi Minh City and Toronto, and Da Nang city and Vancouver. The Canadian side has also run several ODA projects in Vietnamese localities such as a project to develop small- and medium-sized enterprises in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces, and another on vocational training in Hau Giang and Vinh Long provinces.
In addition, cooperation in defence-security has been maintained through the exchange of delegations at all levels and bilateral meetings on the sidelines of multilateral forums, and through the cooperation and sharing of experience in English language training and participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, search and rescue missions, crime prevention and immigration issues.
At regional and international forums, the two countries have actively coordinated with each other in numerous issues, including disarmament, regional security, and international trade. Both countries are now members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Canada takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th year of their diplomatic relationship with remarkable developments in bilateral ties across the fields, from politics, diplomacy to economics-trade, development cooperation, education-training and people-to-people exchange. The visit is expected to maintain the impetus of the bilateral comprehensive partnership and continue to enhance mutual understanding and trust, thus bringing bilateral ties forward in a more effective and pragmatic manner.
The expanded G7 Summit in 2018
The expanded G7 Summit will be held in Charlevoix, Quebec, on June 8-9 with the participation of the world’s seven advanced economies, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, and several guests, including Vietnam.
The agenda of this year’s summit focuses on gender equality and women empowerment, investment in inclusive growth, preparations to adapt to job placements in future, cooperation to respond to climate change and protect oceans, and the building of a more peaceful and safer world.
As the Chair of G7 this year, Canada gives priority to gender equality and empowerment of women. The Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada's G7 Presidency was set up to step up this working agenda.
Before the summit takes place, the host Canada is scheduled to organise several ministerial meetings to consult on issues related to the working agenda.
The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. It was established in 1975 under the US’ initiative with six members. Canada joined the grouping in 1976.
The G7 Summit offers an opportunity for G7 leaders, ministers and policy makers to come together each year to build consensus and set trends around some of today’s most challenging global issues.
Canada’s invitation of the Vietnamese Prime Minister to attend the summit reflects the increasingly important role and position of Vietnam in the international arena. The summit’s themes and working agenda are in accordance with Vietnam’s concern and interests.VNA