Vladimir Goshin, Ambassador of Belarus to Việt Nam
24th of January, 2017 marks 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam. The following is a statement from Vladimir Goshin, Ambassador of Belarus to Việt Nam
In 1992, Việt Nam was among the first countries to officially acknowledge the independence of Belarus.
Despite 7000 km of distance, our countries possess a common history and traditional ties, based on the historical memory of the two nations. Thousands of Vietnamese citizens were educated in Belarus when it was a part of the USSR and later when the country became independent. Many Belarusians helped Việt Nam restore its national economy after war and to build crucial industrial projects.
During the 25 years of diplomatic relations Việt Nam has achieved significant success in socio–economic development and now enjoys a leading position in terms of integration to the global economy. The Republic of Belarus also leads in various projects among the Eurasian states. Our countries maintained high level political dialogues and provided fruitful co-operation in the international arena based towards numerous issues.
High-level visits in the two past years like the visit of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vieät Nam Nguyen Phu Trong to Belarus and State visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to Vieät Nam, gave great impetus to the development of relations.
Belarus regards co-operation with Vieät Nam as one of priorities of its foreign policy in Asia and wishes to establish a strategic partnership. We highly appreciate friendly ties with your country whose international authority is constantly growing.
In South East Asia Vieät Nam is a traditional trade partner for Belarus. Except for geographical distance and normal competition with third parties, our bilateral relations have few issues prohibiting expansion of economic connections, since the economic structure of Vieät Nam and Belarus is mostly complementary. During the previous 10 years our trade turnover has increased threefold, but this is still far from the full potential.
Brands like heavy-duty dump trucks of BelAZ, MAZ trucks, tractors “Belarus” have been well known in Vieät Nam for decades. Belarus wishes to increase exports to the Vietnamese market of high-quality goods like potassium fertilisers, ultra large off-road tires, buses, engines, radio electronic industry products and other items. Belarusian goods have stable demand among Vietnamese consumers and due to the combination of price and quality are effective for the development of the Vietnamese economic.
The Belarusian consumer has also got accustomed to Vietnamese goods such as apparel, shoes, seafood, tea, coffee, nuts, spices, processed fruits and vegetables and, in recent years, cell phones, printers and computers marked with the label “Made in Việt Nam”.
The Free Trade Agreement between Eurasian Economic Union and Việt Nam which came into effect in October 2016, abolishes custom duties for 90 per cent of mutual trade positions and opens new horizons for trade between our countries.
If we want to achieve further growth it’s necessary to shift from normal trade to joint production of goods. Belarus considers Việt Nam a base in the South East Asia to enter the ASEAN market with our jointly made products.
Jointly making projects will localise the production of Belarusian machinery in Vieät Nam, provide new jobs, upgrade skills and transfer technology, moves which meet the interests of Vieät Nam and corresponds to its 5-year development plans.
Currently, Belarusian automobile plant MAZ with its Vietnamese counterparts is organizing the production of trucks and low-floor buses of high passenger capacity, which were designed for Vietnamese costumers and in accordance with Vietnamese regulations. Besides that, in the nearest future there will be joint production of medical equipment.
We also need to emphasise the availability of infrastructure and good will of the Belarusian side for Vietnamese companies to use Belarus as a base to enter the market of Eurasian Economic Union and Eastern Europe.
But it’s not only pragmatic interests of mutually beneficial trade relations that unite Belarus and Việt Nam.
In 2015 Belarus entered the European Higher Education Area with membership in the Bologna Process. In a relatively short term Belarus has managed to create a national educational model which is appreciated by the global educational community. Now diplomas issued in Belarus are valid in all the Bologna Process states. Vietnamese students are invited to get their education in Belarusian universities in such areas of study as physics, mathematics, informational technologies and foreign languages.
Along with our pride for present achievements we are happy to share the memory of prominent dates in our history. In 2017, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of Belarusian book-printing. In 1517 Francysk Skaryna, a Belarusian noble from the ancient city of Polotsk opened a typography in Prague and printed the first Bible in Belarusian.
One can get a deeper insight into Belarusian culture in May 2017, when Hà Nội and the Province of Lào Cai will host Belarus Cultural Days, so we invite everyone who has interest in Belarus and those who are unfamiliar with our country to attend.
The 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations is also a time when Belarusian – Vietnamese ties gain new dynamics due to an increase in contact between citizens of our states, provided by visa facilitation measures. From the 1st of July 2015 Belarusian citizens can visit Việt Nam without visas and from February 2017 many Vietnamese citizens will also get this privilege.
Obviously visa facilitation fosters not only business ties but also increases tourist influx.
We also hope that these measures will promote contacts between Belarusian and Vietnamese regions and provinces.
And now, on Lunar New Year’s Eve, I’d like to congratulate Vietnamese people and extend my warm wishes for well-being, good health and success in achieving your goals and of course to travel and discover our beautiful welcoming Belarus.