|NA chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân meets the Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan Kassym Zhomart Tokayev in Astana yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức|
ASTANA – National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân told Kazakhstan’s top legislators yesterday that trade between the two countries should be boosted, along with ties on security-related issues, education and training, culture and tourism.
The top lawmaker is on a three-day visit to Kazakhstan at the invitation of Senate Chairman Kassym Jomart Tokayev and Chairman of the Mazhilis (lower house), Nurlan Nigmatulin.
This is the first-ever visit to the Central Asian country by a leader of the Vietnamese parliament.
At her meeting with Tokayev in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, she suggested the two sides review the outcomes of the first year of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (Việt Nam-EAEU FTA).
She also proposed finalizing and signing an extradition agreement, boosting joint work in line with the education-training cooperation agreement signed in September 2009, and implementing the tourism agreement signed in November 2011.
The Vietnamese legislature wants to strengthen ties with the Kazakh parliament at regional and global forums, she told both parliamentary leaders. To that end, she told them, the 14th Vietnamese NA had established the Việt Nam-Kazakhstan Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group.
Tokayev, for his part, predicted that trade this year would reach $450 million, compared with $370 last year, due to implementation of the free trade pact. He nonetheless said the trade turnover was still below its potential and asked for more active involvement of legislators in pushing their governments to promote trade.
Kazakhstan welcomes small- and medium-sized Vietnamese enterprises, he said, adding that the two nations would continue working closely to celebrate the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties this year.
Ngân noted that trade grew from below US$80 million before 2012 to more than $360 million in 2016, and would soon reach $500 million due to the free trade pact.
Chairwoman Ngân informed embassy staff and Vietnamese expatriates about the outcomes of the recent sixth plenum of the 12th-tenure Communist Party of Việt Nam Central Committee, the socio-economic situation since the beginning of the year, and preparations for the parliament’s fourth sitting in late October.
At the talks with with Nigmatulin, Ngân noted that the bilateral relationship was thriving in various areas, ranging from politics to economy, trade, culture, tourism and security.
"The Vietnamese Government and relevant agencies support and create favourable conditions for foreign businesses, including those from Kazakhstan," the top legislator affirmed, expressing her wish that Kazakhstan would help Vietnamese firms seeking investment opportunities in the country.
Nigmatulin said Kazakhstan hoped to further beef up partnerships with Việt Nam in the fields of agriculture, transport and tourism.
Both agreed that Việt Nam should increase its export of rice, rubber, coffee, seafood, computers, phones, machines and equipment to Kazakhstan while importing metal, steel and iron, ore, minerals and other products from the country.
In the realm of security, Ngân suggested that the two nations should intensify cooperation and focus on exchanging information and combating terrorism, transnational and high-tech crimes, and illegal immigration.
Nigmatulin said Kazakhstan want to exchange legislative experience with Việt Nam and suggested the two sides expand cooperation between specialised committees of the two parliaments.-VNS