Viet Nam News
As Canada and Việt Nam celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations and on the occasion of Canada’s National Day (July 1), Ambassador Ping Kitnikone is delighted to share some highlights of the past year.
In November 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada visited Hà Nội and HCM City before attending the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Đà Nẵng. During his visit, he formalised the establishment of a Comprehensive Partnership between Canada and Việt Nam.
The partnership was founded on what was already a fruitful and multifaceted relationship we have developed even before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973. Besides being the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, 2018 also marks the first year of the Canada - Việt Nam Comprehensive Partnership Agreement.
The relationship confirms our strong bilateral partnership across many areas, including poverty reduction, trade and investment, inclusive economic growth, good governance, peace and stability and maintenance of a rule-based order.
Multilaterally, we will continue our cooperation at the United Nations, in the context of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and as members of La Francophonie.
The momentum generated by the partnership was evident in the increase of two-way high-ranking official delegations, including the recent visit by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to the G7 Leaders’ Outreach Session in Charlevoix, Canada, and by the first ever visit to Việt Nam of a Canadian defense minister, Harjit Sajjan.
Just as important as these high level official delegations, we are also seeing more activities across the board.
For instance, the number of Canadian tourists visiting Việt Nam has increased by 16 per cent annually over the last two years; and over the same period, Việt Nam has ranked first in Southeast Asia as a source country for international students in Canada. In 2017, we welcomed over 14,000 Vietnamese students and are looking forward to welcoming even more in the coming years.
These students, just like the vibrant Vietnamese-Canadian community of nearly 250,000 in Canada, have enriched our society and done much to contribute to a better mutual understanding between our countries.
On the trade front, bilateral trade is reaching new heights every year. In 2017, our countries traded over C$6.1 billion, up by 12 per cent over the previous year. This is a solid foundation on which to build, and we are serious about exploring further opportunities in Việt Nam and ASEAN as a whole.
While some countries look inward, Canada is choosing a different path. We know that to continue to succeed, we must remain open to people and ideas. Our progressive approach to global commerce is one that puts people first and ensures that everyone can take advantage of the opportunities generated by trade and investment.
Canada’s 2018 G7 presidency is an important opportunity for Canada not only to engage with G7 counterparts but also other partners to make real progress on goals we all share. This included the five key themes of investing in growth that works for everyone; preparing for jobs of the future; advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment; building a more peaceful and secure world, and working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy.
On the last topic, we are very encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Prime Minister Phúc in finding solutions to the problems facing the world’s oceans. At the recent G7 Summit, Canada recognised that plastics pose a significant threat and will invest $100 million to rid our oceans of global marine litter and plastic pollution. In our modest capacity, the Embassy of Canada in Việt Nam is pleased to spearhead an advocacy campaign “Countdown Plastic” that aims to raise awareness on the negative impacts of plastic pollution, while advocating for change in Việt Nam.
The campaign achieved its first milestone of forty-one embassies and international organisations adopting a code of conduct on combating plastic pollution and we look forward to working with domestic and international partners on further efforts.
Canada is proud to be a supporter of Việt Nam’s poverty reduction and sustainable growth agenda. Our longstanding development cooperation with Việt Nam is an important facet of our bilateral relationship. Our bilateral programme has supported the development of SMEs, co-operative and agricultural value chains, while working with journalists to strengthen their participation on public policy making. We are also happy to share our experience and know-how in the banking, legislative and technical and vocational education and training sectors, with food safety soon to be included on the list.
So to summarise, we look forward to building on an already very strong foundation to the benefit of our citizens. I would like to recognise the many friends of Canada who, through civil society organisations, cultural and academic exchanges, the private sector and other networks, have contributed to the development of the Canada-Việt Nam relationship. On July 1, as Canadians celebrate our National Day and re-affirm our commitment to engaging internationally, I would like to invite you to celebrate along with us.
On behalf of the government of Canada, I am delighted to wish the Canadian community in Việt Nam a happy Canada Day, and to invite the people of Việt Nam to celebrate the ties that bind us and the endless opportunities that will continue to keep us connected. — VNS