|Trade partner: The "Chuquicamata Copper Mine" belonging to the Chilean State-Owned CODELCO company, which is the main producer and exporter of copper to Viet Nam. — Photo courtesy of Chilean Embassy
The Chilean Ambassador to Viet Nam, Fernando Urrutia, wrote to Viet Nam News on the occasion of the Chilean Independence Day, September 18.
Today Chile celebratesanother National Independence Day; this year it will be the 204th anniversary of its independence.
We also choose to celebrate 45 years of solid and fruitful friendship with Viet Nam, a friendship that started in May of 1969, with then Senate President Salvador Allende's visit with President Ho Chi Minh. Allende was one of the last foreign politicians to meet President Ho before he passed away.
An official diplomatic relationship between the two countries was fully established in 1971, and the first Chilean Embassy in Ha Noi opened in 2004.
Since then, the relationship between the peoples and governments of the two countries has strengthened substantially in a variety of fields: political, economical, cultural and though cooperation in other areas.
On January 1st, 2014, our bilateral free trade agreement signed in November 2011, came into force, making Chile Viet Nam's fourth most important trade partner in Latin America, after Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
Our political relationship is also increasingly relevant. The most recent highlight was a meeting in Chile between Vice Chairperson of the Viet Nam National Assembly and member of the Politburo Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan; President Michelle Bachelet; the President of the Chilean Senate, Senator Isabel Allende; and other high level leaders. President Bachelet commemorated the occasion by inaugurating the first monument to President Ho Chi Minh in Santiago, and honoured the figure of President Salvador Allende.
Moreover, this year we will host the first meeting of the Free Trade Commission established in the Chile-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement. The sixth meeting of the Political Consultations will also take place this year in Santiago.
We are ready to sign a "Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Friendly Relations and Cooperation between HCM City and Santiago of Chile" that will boost our nations' cooperation by further engaging with the important southern city of Viet Nam. Other agreements are under discussion, like a tourist visa waiver.
In the cultural field, this year we took part in the Hue Festival with a Chilean Dance Troupe, and other Latin American countries. We will also be part of a film festival next October. Later this year, at the Hoa Binh Park, we expect to inaugurate a sculpture called Reencuentro (Reencounter) which was donated by President Bachelet to the city of Ha Noi.
In the commercial field, trade has increased substantially in the last four years. What is even more important to me, thanks to an increase of Vietnamese exports, is that the trend of our countries' trade balance is to be less unbalanced in favour of Chile.
Co-operation between the two countries also increases, for example, the introduction of the Andean "quinoa" [a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds] to Viet Nam. This is made possible thanks to a co-operation programme,
All this is a demonstration of a consolidated relationship between our two countries that shows an even more promising future. — VNS