|Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. — VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg starts a three-day official visit to Viet Nam today.
The trip, made at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, is expected to boost bilateral relations, which have grown over the last four decades.
The leaders are expected to discuss concrete measures to foster collaboration on the economy, climate change resilience, water management, renewable energy, agriculture, oil and gas, and shipbuilding.
The two countries will also discuss ways to conclude negotiations on the Viet Nam – EFTA free trade agreement, the 11th round of which took place from January 13 to 16 in HCM City. The visit will also bolster partnerships on the Millennium Development Goals and build post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
Since their diplomatic ties were established in November 1971, Viet Nam and Norway have seen their relations develop across various sectors: politics, economics, culture and society.
The European country has assisted Viet Nam in its doi moi (renewal) efforts, poverty eradication and international integration. The two sides have also co-ordinated at international forums and organisations such as the UN and World Trade Organisation.
Bilateral trade rose 28 percent over 2013 to US$307.8 million in 2014. Viet Nam exported textile-garments, footwear, timber, wood products and cashew nuts to Norway. It imported aquatic, chemical and steel products; machinery; spare parts; and fertilisers.
The European Free Trade Area (EFTA), made up of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, recognised Viet Nam's market economy in 2012.
As of the end of February, Norway has invested $121 million in 30 Vietnamese projects, ranking 37th among countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation. It has funded education, healthcare, natural resource management and renewable energy projects. Norway's total assistance to Viet Nam now exceeds $320 million.
About 40 Norwegian businesses operate in Viet Nam, mostly in HCM City, Binh Duong Province, Vung Tau, Khanh Hoa Province, Ha Noi and Hai Phong. — VNS