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Qatar, Viet Nam to strengthen economic ties

Update: December, 18/2013 - 09:53
Proud heritage: A general view of Souq Waqif, an important souq (literally means standing market) in the State of Qatar. — VNS Photo Hatem Salman

Qatar is a peninsula on the western shore of the Ara-bian Gulf. Almost 80 per cent of its population of more than two million people reside in the city of Doha, the nation's business and administrative capital.

The State of Qatar is a monarchy ruled by the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, who was anointed to the position by his father on June 25, 2013. As a member of the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), Qatar has hosted many important international meetings, of which the most recent remarkable one was one on Climate Change last year.

Qatar is famous for its impressive economic growth in the last few decades. About 85 per cent of Qatar's income comes from oil exports. The country boasts the world's third largest reserves of oil and natural gas. Oil and gas have made Qatar the country with the world's highest per-capita income of approximately US$100.000; and the country with the lowest unemployment.

The nation has accorded priority to educational reform as reflected in the establishment of the Qatar Foundation's Education City, one of the most ambitious and far-reaching centres for education and research in the Middle East.

It is also proud of its heritage, with fine examples of traditional buildings, arts and crafts as well as the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art.

Qatar plays host to a variety of big international sporting events. Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid will likely accelerate large-scale infrastructure projects in the monarchy.

Diplomatic relationship

Diplomatic relations between the State of Qatar and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam were established on February 8, 1993 at a (non-resident) ambassadorial level.

This year, the countries celebrate the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations. Over the past two decades, the relationship between the two countries has developed continuously. Viet Nam opened its embassy in Doha in March, 2008 and Qatar did likewise in Ha Noi in January 2010.

A number of high-ranking visits took place shortly after, most notably, the visits to Qatar of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan in March 2009 and June 2010, respectively; and those to Viet Nam by Emir HH. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in January 2012 and Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim Jaber Al Thani in April 2008. These visits intended to enhance and strengthen the relations of co-operation between the two countries.

The good diplomatic relationship took the form of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements signed by the two governments in the fields of oil, gas, aviation, labour export, food security, agriculture, tourism, banking and training. In 2012, two way trade volume reached $254 million, which was 22,5 per cent more than 2011.

Investment relations between the two nations have also witnessed significant progress, most particularly with agreements on building the $1.5 billion Long Son Petrochemical Complex in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, and the establishment of the joint investment fund of $1 billion by the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) and Qatar Holdings to invest in projects in Viet Nam.

Apart from trade and investment relations, labour export is also a potential area of co-operation, which was stressed in meetings between Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, the minister of Business, and Vietnamese Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen in April 2013.

The launch of direct flights between Doha and Ha Noi and HCM City by Qatar Airways will further facilitate trade co-operation between the two countries.

The potential for co-operation between the two countries is vast, and a modest start has been made with the current level of economic co-operation. Towards fulfilling this potential, the two Governments will continue to create legal frameworks and mechanisms to support and facilitate relations between enterprises of both countries. — VNS


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