PM seeks measures to boost economic, trade, and investment ties between ASEAN and Gulf countries

October 20, 2023 - 17:19
At the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) Summit, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính made three proposals for future orientations of cooperation between the two sides.


ASEAN and Gulf countries leaders at the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit chaired by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia on Friday in capital city Riyadh. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

RIYADH — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính joined leaders from ASEAN and Gulf countries at the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) Summit held in Saudi Arabia's capital city of Riyadh on Friday.

PM Chính expressed his support for the Summit’s adoption of a Joint Statement to outline the directions and drivers for the elevation of the ASEAN - GCC ties to a new height, for peace, cooperation and mutual development.

According to the Vietnamese Government leader, Southeast Asia and the Gulf have enjoyed a "bond spanning numerous centuries, forged upon the basis of an excellent friendship and vast potential for cooperation."

The PM said: "When the world is witnessing rapid changes, there is an ever-greater necessity for both ASEAN and the GCC to be responsive and join hands in promoting resilience, harnessing resources for growth, and taking substantive actions with a strong underlying political resolve and determined actions.

"Only then can the cooperation between the two regions create tangible breakthroughs and become a highlight for regional and global collaboration."

At the summit, he made three proposals for future orientations of cooperation between the two sides.

First, ASEAN and the GCC should continue to create more favourable conditions to ensure that economic, trade and investment ties will remain the key pillar and driver connecting the two regions, and complementing each other in the bid for mutual development.

"We need to put in place more open policies, facilitate greater market access, and build more comprehensive and sufficient supply chains," he said.

"This will lay the foundation for investment funds and businesses from GCC countries to expand their business and investment in ASEAN, and allow ASEAN goods and services to enjoy greater presence in the Gulf."

In this process, ASEAN and Việt Nam wish to work closely with the GCC in pursuit of greener and more sustainable development goals. Accordingly, both sides should give priority to building a green, digital, circular, and sharing economy, pursuing sustainable agriculture, and expediting energy transition, according to the Government leader.

The three pillars of cooperation were deemed to be people-culture-labour, trade-investment-tourism, and infrastructure-strategic infrastructure investment.

Second, it is necessary to quickly institutionalise ASEAN - GCC cooperation via regular, substantive and effective mechanisms in specific areas.

Việt Nam hopes that this Summit will be the first important step to pave the way for new collaboration arrangements between the two regions.

"Focus should be given to economic, trade, and investment ties, tourism, culture, education, and people-to-people exchange," PM Chính said.

Third, ASEAN and GCC should bolster multilateral cooperation to together maintain an environment of peace and stability for development.

"Given our advantages as successful regional organisations, ASEAN and the GCC should support each other in upholding both sides’ central role and making meaningful contributions to peace, stability and development in both regions and the world as a whole," the Vietnamese PM noted.

He said Việt Nam "strongly oppose all acts of violence and call upon parties concerned to immediately put an end to violence against civilians, humanitarian establishments, and critical infrastructures".

"Only negotiation, dialogue, peaceful settlement of disputes, and a two-state solution on the basis of international law and relevant United Nations Security Council's resolutions can pave the way for lasting peace in the Middle East and among all parties concerned," the Vietnamese leader remarked.

All six GCC countries are priority cooperation partners of Việt Nam, spanning many fields from politics to diplomacy, trade, investment, and labour.

Relations between Việt Nam and all six GCC member countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman) have developed very positively. Two-way trade between Việt Nam and these countries reached US$12.5 billion last year. GCC states have so far poured approximately US$1 billion into Việt Nam.

Việt Nam has about 11,000 workers in GCC countries. It is negotiating a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE. — VNS