Top Vietnamese and Thai legislators have praised their bilateral cooperation across a variety of fields, especially in legislation and underlined the need to share common viewpoints and support each other in issues of shared concern at international and regional inter-parliamentary forums.
At talks on August 14 between National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and visiting President of the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, the two sides affirmed a closer cooperation to effectively implement an action program for strategic partnership in the 2014-2018 period.
Chairwoman Ngan assured Vietnam’s unwavering policy of prioritising the strategic partnership with Thailand. She asked both sides to work more closely to effectively carry out the plan of action to implement their strategic partnership between 2014 and 2018, as well as important cooperation mechanisms such as the joint cabinet meeting, the political consultation, the high-level dialogue on security, and the dialogue on defence policy.
The officials said to optimise the countries’ cooperation potential, specialised agencies of the two parliaments should closely supervise the Governments’ cooperation agreements and maintain delegation exchanges at all levels. The two parliamentary friendship groups also need to intensify connections.
Bilateral trade between the two nations reached US$12.5 billion in 2016, up 8.9% year on year, and roughly US$7 billion in the first half of 2017, up 22.5% from a year earlier.
She called for joint efforts to reach the targeted trade revenue of US$20 billion in 2020 and reduce trade imbalance since Vietnam still records high deficit in trade with Thailand.
The Vietnamese top legislator pledged the best possible conditions of the NA and the Government of Vietnam for Thai firms to invest in such fields as tourism (especially marine tourism), textile-garment, footwear, cosmetics, food, agricultural products, machinery, chemistry and material production. These are the areas that match Thailand’s strength and Vietnam’s potential.
Concerning cooperation in ASEAN, Chairwoman Ngan said as ASEAN members, the two sides need to enhance solidarity to promote the bloc’s unity, strength and central role. They should persist in ASEAN’s common principles and viewpoints on regional global issues.
She urged further coordination with each other and with other Mekong countries to promote cooperation, management and sustainable use of the river’s water resources, and to effectively implement the outcomes of the seventh Summit of the Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS 7), held in October 2016.
About agriculture, fisheries and labour, the legislators discussed the acceleration of signing a new memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand, and the signing of an agreement on setting up a hotline for fishery activities at sea.
Ngan suggested both sides consider expanding the fields and jobs opened for Vietnamese workers in Thailand. The two countries’ labour ministries need to promptly carry out relevant procedures so that Thailand can officially recruit Vietnamese workers.
She also thanked the Thai Government for favourable conditions for Vietnamese-Thais to integrate into the local society and for the construction and management of the relic sites of Vietnam’s late President Ho Chi Minh in Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom provinces.
NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai in turn asked the two countries to boost partnership in trade and investment and gradually balance their trade.
Thailand wants more Vietnamese investment, he said, adding that the two legislative agencies are ready to work together to resolve obstacles facing investors.
Last year, about 800,000 Vietnamese tourists came to Thailand, but only 260,000 Thais visited Vietnam. Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said he hopes after the opening of more routes between the two countries, the number of Thai visitors to Vietnam will increase in the time to come.
At the talks both sides agreed to work hand in hand to carry out important cooperative mechanisms between the two countries, including joint cabinet meetings, political consultations, high-level security dialogues, and defense policy dialogue. The two leaders concurred to reinforce solidarity for the development of ASEAN and bring into full play the bloc’s central role, consistent to its common principles.
These include assuring unity and fostering coordination between members in regional and international issues, as well as effectively implementing the ASEAN Economic Community while aiming to build an ASEAN Political-Security Community in the future.
Later the same day, Chairwoman Ngan hosted a banquet in honour of NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai and his delegation.