Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Leading Vietnamese and Thai lawmakers agreed yesterday to support each other on issues of common concern at international and regional inter-parliamentary forums, thus contributing to peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region.
In talks held between National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) of Thailand, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, the parliamentarians also expressed satisfaction with the sound development of bilateral relations as reflected in exchange visits by high-ranking delegations.
Wichitcholchai is on a four-day (August 13-16) official visit to Việt Nam.
Ngân affirmed Việt Nam’s consistent policy of prioritising its strategic partnership with Thailand. She said both sides should work more closely to effectively implement action plans drawn up for the 2014- 2018 period. They should also strengthen important co-operation mechanisms like joint cabinet meetings, political consultations and high-level dialogues on security and defence policy.
Both sides agreed that to optimise their bilateral co-operation potential, specialised agencies of the two parliaments should closely supervise the Governments’ co-operation agreements and maintain delegation exchanges at all levels. The two parliamentary friendship groups should also strengthen connections, they said.
Highlighting thriving trade and investment ties, they noted Thailand ranked 10th among foreign investors and was Việt Nam’s biggest trade partner in the ASEAN bloc. Việt Nam, in turn, was the eighth largest foreign investor in Thailand.
Bilateral trade hit US$12.5 billion in 2016, up 8.9 per cent year on year, and was approximately $7 billion in the first half of 2017, up 22.5 per cent year on year, they noted.
Ngân said the two sides should co-ordinate better to reach the targeted trade revenue of $20 billion in 2020 and reduce their trade imbalance, since Việt Nam still has a high trade deficit with Thailand.
More favourable conditions should be created for Vietnamese and Thai businesses to boost trade and investment activities, she added.
She pledged that the NA and Government of Việt Nam would create optimal conditions for Thai firms to invest in tourism (especially marine tourism), textile and garment, footwear, cosmetics, food, agriculture, machinery, chemicals and material production sectors. These are areas that match Thailand’s strength and Việt Nam’s potential, she said.
Echoing his host, Wichitcholchai said the two countries need to step up partnership in trade and investment and gradually balance the trade deficit. Thailand wants more Vietnamese investment, he said, adding that the two legislative agencies are ready to work together to resolve obstacles facing investors.
In 2016, about 800,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Thailand, but only 260,000 Thais visited Việt Nam.
Wichitcholchai said he hoped that after more routes linking the two countries are opened, the number of Thai visitors to Việt Nam will surge.
Ngân said as ASEAN members, Việt Nam and Thailand need to enhance solidarity to promote the bloc’s unity, strength and central role. They should remain steadfast ton ASEAN’s common principles and viewpoints on regional and global issues, she said.
She urged further co-ordination with each other and other Mekong riparian countries to promote co-operation, management and sustainable use of the river’s water resources, and to effectively implement the outcomes of the seventh Summit of the Ayeyawady–Chao Phraya–Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS 7), held in October 2016.
The legislators discussed the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural co-operation between Việt Nam and Thailand, as well as the signing of an agreement to set up a hotline for fisheries activities at sea.
Ngân suggested that both sides consider expanding the areas of work as well as job openings for Vietnamese workers in Thailand. The labour ministries of both countries should carry out relevant procedures soon so that Thailand can officially recruit Vietnamese workers, she said.
She also thanked the Thai Government for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese-Thais to integrate into local society and for the construction and management of the relic sites related to late President Hồ Chí Minh in Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom provinces.
The officials also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern. Ngân said Việt Nam wants to continue working with Thailand to strengthen ASEAN solidarity, boost the bloc’s common voice and role in settling security and development affairs in the region, and help deal with East Sea disputes through peaceful means in line with international law. — VNS