Viet Nam News
PRAGUE — Chairwoman of Việt Nam’s National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka agreed that the two countries should enhance co-operation during their meeting in Prague on Wednesday.
Ngân is visiting the Czech Republic on April 12-14 as part of her European tour, which began on April 6.
Speaking at the meeting, the top Vietnamese legislator said despite progress in co-operation between Việt Nam and the Czech Republic in trade and investment, the two nations should work to unleash their potential.
Two-way trade reached US$249 million last year and the Czech Republic ranked 45th out of 116 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam with 34 foreign direct investment projects, worth approximately $90 million, she noted, proposing leaders of the two countries increase visits to each other for market research and improve the work of the Việt Nam-Czech Intergovernmental Committee for economy and science-technology co-operation.
Ngân suggested her host stimulate Czech investment in Việt Nam’s fields of interest, including renewable energy, metallurgy, mining, infrastructure development, supporting industries, environment, textile and garment, and mechanical and electronic manufacturing.
The Czech PM agreed, saying that Czech exports to Việt Nam only made up about 10 per cent of bilateral trade and it is time to boost partnerships in trade, commerce and investment.
Aside from strengths in foreign direct investment, the Czech Republic has advantages in supplying advanced technologies in mining and energy, Sobotka said, adding that the European country wishes to join projects in infrastructure development, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and information technology in Việt Nam.
On education, Chairwoman Ngân hoped the Czech Republic will push co-operation agreements and collaborative training projects in fields of its strength, like engineering, agriculture, medicine and pharmacy, electrics and electronics.
She also asked for continued support from the Czech government in strengthening the comprehensive partnership between Việt Nam and the European Union (EU) and hoped it would push the ratification of the Việt Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement and the EU’s recognition of Việt Nam as a market economy.
In security-defence, Ngân expected the Czech Republic would assist Việt Nam in training cyber-security specialists. She also affirmed the National Assembly of Việt Nam’s support for the two governments to ink deals on combating crime and on the transfer of prisoners.
Echoing his Vietnamese guest, PM Sobotka said Czech enterprises look forward to opportunities in security-defence.
They also agreed to fast-track the launch of streamlined visa processing between the two countries. Sobotka said he expects the number of Czech tourist arrivals to Việt Nam to grow considerably once Việt Nam simplifies the application process for short-stay visas.
Meeting with Czech President
The same day, Chairwoman Ngân was also welcomed by Czech President Milos Zeman. In the meeting, Ngân stressed that the two countries have enjoyed time-honoured friendship and co-operation nurtured by many generations of their leaders and people over the past 67 years.
Việt Nam remembers the Czech Republic’s support for its past struggle for national liberation as well as the current nation building and development, she affirmed, thanking the country for recognising Vietnamese-Czech people as an ethnic minority group.
In past years, the two sides have enjoyed progress in bilateral relations in polictics, diplomacy, trade, investment, defence, science and technology, while co-operating at regional and international forums as the United Nations and Asia–Europe Meeting.
Việt Nam is willing to help the Czech Republic boost collaboration with ASEAN and its member states, Ngân said, adding that it can also supply human resources for the Czech Republic as the European country lacks labourers.
Việt Nam’s top lawmaker told the host that during her visit, she met with President of the Senate of the Czech Parliament Milan Stech and Chairman of the Czech Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies (lower house) Jan Hamacek to discuss measures to boost bilateral parliamentary co-operation.
She asked for continued support from the Czech President to develop the parliamentary relationship, for the interests of the two countries’ people and for peace, development and prosperity in the region and the world.
President Milos Zeman expressed his delight at the expansion of investment in Việt Nam by Czech and Vietnamese-Czech businesses.
He said that a number of enterprises will accompany him during his upcoming State visit to Việt Nam. He hoped the two countries will sign many economic contracts to improve the bilateral relations.
He asked Việt Nam to consider porviding a short-term visa waiver for Czech citizens. — VNS