PM stresses importance of strengthened ties with US, Canada

September 06, 2023 - 19:07
The ASEAN-US and ASEAN-Canada summits were held on Wednesday to strengthen ties between the Southeast Asian bloc and the two countries.
US Vice President Kamala Harris (fifth from left) and ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN-US Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

JAKARTA — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính said that ASEAN and the US is entering a new era of cooperation with the comprehensive strategic partnership recently established and will need further coordination for a practical, effective and mutually beneficial relationship. 

The statement was made at the ASEAN-US Summit in Jakarta on Wednesday. 

The Vietnamese leader added that economic and trade cooperation should be the core, and science-technology and innovation the driving force behind the ASEAN-US comprehensive strategic partnership. 

The two sides will need to collaborate to promote harmonious and sustainable trade, stabilise the supply chains, minimise anti-dumping duties, subsidies and unnecessary measures for exports, which directly impact people’s employment and livelihoods. 

US Vice President Kamala Harris at the event emphasised the US commitment to ASEAN and the region, as well as its support for the bloc in its central role. 

She added that the two sides have shared interests, priorities, long-term vision and challenges.

An ASEAN-US Centre will be established in Washington DC to facilitate academic, business and people exchanges, said Harris. 

In 2022, the US was the largest investment partner of the Southeast Asian bloc with the foreign direct investment capital totalling US$36.5 billion. 

The country is also ASEAN’s second largest trade partner, with a total two-way trade turnover of $420.4 billion. 

At the summit, the two sides agreed to promote trade and investment, stabilise supply chain, improve medical capacity, while also extending the fields of cooperation to science-technology, sustainable infrastructure development, digital transformation, energy, environmental protection, climate change response, sustainable maritime cooperation, as well as green and circular economy. 

PM Chính also requested that ASEAN coordinate with the US to effectively implement ASEAN-US Future Initiatives on healthcare, education, among other fields, and believed that the ASEAN-US Centre will play a significant role in this process.

The government leader also proposed the US cooperate and support Việt Nam further in climate change response, implementing the declaration on Just Energy Transition Partnership, and for the development of the Mekong Sub-region through the Mekong-US partnership, including the sustainable growth efforts for the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta in Việt Nam. 

PM Chính and ASEAN country leaders also requested the bloc’s partners to support ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea), fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) and the Code of Conduct (COC) at the marine area, as well as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Amid challenges in the region, the Vietnamese PM also said that partners should increase dialogues, cooperation and trust building to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, responsibility and respect for each country’s legitimate interests, while abiding by international laws.

ASEAN-Canada partnership

The ASEAN-Canada Summit taking place on the same day issued a joint statement to officially establish the strategic partnership between the bloc and the country. 

Canada will also increase its presence in the Southeast Asian region while upholding international laws and contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the area, according to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính meets his Canadian counterpart Jusin Trudeau before the ASEAN-Canada Summit in Jakarta on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

In 2022, the two-way trade turnover between ASEAN and Canada reached $23.1 billion, while the FDI from Canada into the region topped $3.63 billion. 

The bloc also welcomes Canada’s CAD$24-million ($17.5 million) investment for the Canadian Trade Gateway in Southeast Asia, as well as a CAD$1 million ($733,100) contribution to the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action Trust Fund. 

The two sides also agreed to explore cooperation potential in digital transformation, food security, business support, education, climate change response and narrowing development gaps. 

Believing that this is the right time to elevate the ASEAN-Canada partnership, PM Chính said that the focus should be put on trade, investment, market access and business connections. 

He also proposed that Canada create favourable conditions for Vietnamese and ASEAN exports into the Canadian market, while also providing assistance to ASEAN and particularly the Mekong Sub-region in adapting to climate change and mitigating its risks. 

The summit also issued the ASEAN-Canada Joint Leaders’ Statement on strengthening food security and nutrition in response to crises. — VNS