|Promise: A view of Kuwait City, capital and largest city in Kuwait. It is also the political, cultural and economic centre of Kuwait. — Photo en.aegeanair.com
The year 2016 marks an important milestone in the diplomatic relation between Kuwait and Viet Nam, when both countries are celebrating 40 years since establishing their relations.
In 1976, right after the reunification of Viet Nam, Kuwait was among the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Viet Nam and thirty years later, it was also the very first state among the GCC countries to open its Embassy in Ha Noi and its Consulate General in HCM city in 2007. Since then, the relationship has been promoted strongly between the two Governments and peoples, based on the foundation of mutual respect.
The political-diplomatic relation of the two countries has been strengthened by the success of official visits of the leaders of two countries.
In May 2007 the visit by the Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah witnessed the signing of important agreements such as "Agreement on Investment Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection", "Agreement on Cooperation between the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry", and the "Protocol on the establishment of the Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation".
In March 2009, the visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also marked the signing of "Agreement on Air Transport", "Framework Agreement on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation" and "Agreements on Avoiding Double Taxation and Preventing Evasion of Income Taxes".
At minister level, the two countries has also exchanged delegations such as visits by Kuwait Minister of Oil&Information company, President of Kuwait National Oil Group to Viet Nam in 2009 and 2010, and most recently H.E. Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Chairman of Kuwait National Assembly visited Viet Nam and attended the IPU 132 (2014) and H.E Minister Plenipotentiary Musaed Saleh-Al Thwaikh, Acting Assistant of Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs co-chaired the 2nd Political Consultation between the two Foreign Ministries in Ha Noi (2015).
|Tradition: Kuwaiti girls take part in the Hala February Festival. The Hala Festival heralds the arrival of spring and is one of the major festivals in Kuwait. — Photo en.alkuwaityah.com
In terms of economic development, trade and investment, the two countries have achieved encouraging results. Since 1979, the Kuwait Fund for Arabic Economic Development has been providing about US$140 million loans for infrastructure development projects in the rural, mountainous and remoted area in Viet Nam such as Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, etc. to help improve the local living standard. In November 2007, the construction of Kirby pre-engineered steel building factory started at Nhon Trach 3 Industrial Zone, Dong Nai Province with the initial capital of US$15 million and estimated output of 40.000 tons/ year. Kirby in Viet Nam has now opened its offices in Ha Noi, Da Nang and HCM City and provides steels for not only domestic market but also foreign markets such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Australia and Africa. The Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Thanh Hoa Province is one of the most remarkable spot of co-investment between the two countries. With the initial capital of $9 billion dollars, the joint-venture contract was signed in 2008 between PetroVietnam, Kuwait Petroleum International Company (KPI) and two Japanese partners. The construction is supposed to be finished at the end of 2016 and commercial operations are expected to commence in mid-2017 with the refining capacity of 200,000 barrels per day.
On trade relations, the two-way trade volume between the two countries reached more than $200 million in 2015. The traditional products that Kuwait imports from Viet Nam are clothes, shoes, sea food, wooden products, chili pepper, coffee and tea; while exporting to Viet Nam petrol, plastic materials, chemicals, fertilizers and leather. Both countries are seeking more opportunities to develop business and investment through exchanging delegations, organizing exhibitions and establishing a joint-committee for economic, scientific and technical cooperation.
In terms of sports and education, the two countries have seen exciting friendly matches between the two football teams in recent years, and the Kuwait Government has committed to grant 15 scholarships for Vietnamese students to study Arabic and Science and Petroleum in Kuwait. By now there have been two Vietnamese students qualified for the scholarship and started their course at Kuwait University.
Both countries are striving to seek co-investment and exchanging experience in their strong fields such as petroleum, science and energy, and encouraging enterprises to enhance their opportunities in other fields such as infrastructure, agriculture, construction, finance and banking.
During these days of February when the Kuwait people are celebrating its 55th Independence day and 25th Liberation day, and the Vietnamese people are enjoying their traditional New Year holiday, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Governments and peoples of the two countries and wish them a peaceful and prosperous future. May the relations and friendship of 40 years between the two countries be further consolidated and strengthened together with the peace and prosperity of the region and the world. — VNS