|Growth graph: The Doha coastline. — Photo courtesy of Embassy of Qatar
On Qatar National Day, Ambassador Abdalla Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al-Hamar enumerates the monarchy's impressive achievements.
Qatar is a peninsula on the western shore of the Arabian 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 appointed 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 the 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$102,000; and the country with the lowest unemployment at 0.5 per cent in 2013.
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.
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 21st anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the past two decades, the relationship between the two countries has strengthened. Viet Nam opened its embassy in Doha in March 2008 and Qatar did likewise in Ha Noi in January 2010.
Seeking to enhance business and economic relations, Qatar and Viet Nam agreed to increase joint investments and raise the volume of bilateral trade. The joint Qatari-Vietnamese committee for economic, business and technical co-operation held its first meeting on April 21, 2013.
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, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen in April 2013.
The volume of trade between the two countries has grown considerably over the years. Bilateral trade with Viet Nam stood at $265 million in 2013, up from $245 million in 2012.
Viet Nam's main exports to Qatar are seafood, rice, cables and wires and wood items, and it imports mainly liquefied gas, plastics and chemicals from Qatar.
Qatar's largest investment project in Viet Nam is the Long Son Petrochemical Complex near the southern oil town of Vung Tau, where Qatar Petroleum acquired a 25 per cent stake worth $1 billion in 2012. Further co-operation in the sectors of infrastructure, petrochemicals, agriculture and electronics is currently in discussion, following the set-up of the Qatari-Vietnamese Joint Committee for economic, trade and technical co-operation in 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.
The recent official visit to Doha on December 14-15 by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other high-ranking Vietnamese ministers marked an important step to boost the process of realising these legal frameworks. — VNS