|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (first, standing, right) at the 2015 Maritime Economic Forum in Portugal yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
LISBON (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday said it was important that maritime economic development was kept in line with environmental protection and maritime security.
The PM was speaking at the opening of the Lisbon Blue Business Forum yesterday as part of his official visit to Portugal.
He joined his Portuguese counterpart, Pedro Passos Coelho, at the even, which was part of the Blue Week Lisbon 2015. It was targeted at representatives of nearly 200 groups, companies, research institutes and technology centres involved in maritime trade.
PM Dung told participants that with a total coastal line of more than 3,000km, Viet Nam had set a sustainable development goal of becoming a nation stronger and richer from the sea.
He said the maritime economy contributed about 55 per cent of the nation's GDP and 60 per cent of export turnover.
Viet Nam was intensifying economic maritime links with other countries, including Portugal, he said, adding that co-operation could not succeed if navigation security, safety and freedom were threatened.
At present, about a half of the world's seaborne goods were transported through the navigation route connecting Northeast Asia with Europe.
However, Dung said that in the adjoining East Sea, large-scale construction of reef islands by China were violating international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and regional agreements, undermining trust among nations and seriously threatening peace, stability, aviation and navigation security, safety and freedom.
The Vietnamese Government leader asked the international community to demand an immediate end to what he called "illegal acts", to settle all disputes by peaceful means with respect to international law, especially UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.
Dung added that no action should be taken that complicated and expanded disputes.
Portuguese PM Pedro Coelho said his nation wanted to discuss developing the maritime economy with Viet Nam in the future.
Earlier, the Vietnamese leader visited Lisbon port, one of the oldest and biggest ports in Europe.
Later, he left for an official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of his counterpart, Boico Borisov.
Portugal backs VN trade
President of the Portuguese Parliament, Maria da Assunsao, yesterday said the legislative body supported Viet Nam in fostering ties with the European Union.
Speaking to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who is on an official trip to Lisbon, she said her parliament would seek the European Parliament's approval of a Partnership and Comprehensive Co-operation Agreement between Viet Nam and the EU.
Portugal would also support the early conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two sides as well as EU recognition of Viet Nam's market economy.
Da Assunsao said this would also create favourable conditions for Viet Nam and Portugal to strengthen economic, trade and investment ties.
The Portuguese top legislator also said her parliament would continue backing the expansion of partnership between Viet Nam and Portugal in all fields, while standing ready to act as bridge for both sides to boost economic, trade and investment collaboration as well as cultural exchanges, people-to-people contacts and mutual understanding.
She also spoke highly of the success of the 132nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentarian Union hosted by Viet Nam in March.
PM Dung said he highly valued the Portuguese Parliament's contributions to the IPU Assembly and thanked the Portuguese Parliament's support for the development of relations between the two countries and the growth of comprehensive partnership between Viet Nam and the EU.
They shared the support of the maintenance of peace, stability, security and safety of maritime and aviation in regions and all over the world, as well as the strengthening of dialogues and creating favourable conditions for cooperation and common prosperity.
PM Dung also engaged in talks between Vietnamese and Portuguese enterprises, saying that the Vietnamese Government would create favourable conditions for Portuguese enterprises to launch sustainable long-term investments and operations.
The PM said Viet Nam had risen from a poor country to a middle-income, developing nation with an average of 7.5 per cent growth from 1991-2010.
He said Viet Nam was trying to complete its market-economy mechanism, innovate growth models and improve competitiveness. It also actively integrating globally with a focus on economics.
He added that Viet Nam was on course to conclude free-trade agreements with 55 partners, including 15 members of the G-20.
Given the significant potential based on flourishing economic and political links between Viet Nam and Portugal, the PM said Viet Nam welcomed the investment of Portuguese enterprises in a number of projects in cultivation, fisheries, food processing, IT and tourism.
As the Viet Nam-EU free-trade agreement was expected to be signed this year, he urged Vietnamese businesses to boost the volume of key commodities, such as agricultural produce, woodwork products, electronic devices and apparel, exported to Portugal, while seeking opportunities to import high-quality goods from the country, including agricultural products and industrial materials.
Enterprises from both countries discussed trade and investment policies with senior Vietnamese officials, particularly about investment incentives to form business links and stimulate collaboration. — VNS