Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh (right) hosts Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó. — VNA/VNS Photo Lâm Khánh
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh hosted a reception on Friday for Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó who is paying a two-day official visit to Việt Nam on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
Deputy PM Minh highlighted the meaning of the Hungarian official’s visit and expressed his belief that the visit would create a new driving force to promote bilateral relations.
Việt Nam always attaches importance to its traditional friendship with Hungary, Minh said, believing that the upgrading of the bilateral relations to comprehensive partnership on the occasion of Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s visit to Hungary in September 2018 was a firm foundation to deepen the relations between the two countries in a practical and effective manner.
Minister Szijjártó affirmed that Hungary wishes to promote an effective comprehensive partnership with Việt Nam and highly appreciates the increasingly important role and position of Việt Nam in the region.
The two sides expressed their delight at more active co-operation between the two countries and agreed on specific directions and measures to promote stronger relations.
The two sides spoke highly of regular collaboration and supporting each other in the election of important UN agencies and organisations.
Two foreign ministers assessed that the economic and trade relations between the two countries has developed stably, but has not reached their potential.
They agreed to encourage and facilitate businesses and investors from both sides, especially in areas where Hungary has strengths and Việt Nam has demand, such as effective exploitation of water sources, environmental protection, pharmaceuticals, food processing, renewable energy, manufacturing industry, defence and infrastructure development.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh thanked Hungary for its active support for the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and being the first EU member country to ratify the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). Those agreements have brought many practical benefits to trade and investment relations between the two countries, contributing to connecting the EU-Hungary market with ASEAN and Asia-Pacific markets.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh also highly appreciated Hungary's consideration of Việt Nam as a priority partner in its international development assistance. A number of Hungarian Official Development Assistance-funded projects have created socio-economic benefits for Việt Nam, contributing to the country's sustainable development goals, such as the project building a population management system, the project supplying domestic water to Quảng Trạch District, central Quảng Bình Province.
The two sides agreed to work closely to promote the disbursement of approved projects using Hungarian loans within the framework of a financial co-operation agreement worth EUR440 million (US$468 million) signed in 2017 between the two governments.
During the meeting, the two officials exchanged views on co-operation in important areas such as security-defence, education-training, health, agriculture, culture-tourism, natural resources-environment, labour as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest including the East Sea issue.
Before Szijjártó’s visit to Việt Nam, he said the visit was part of Hungary’s plan to boost its “Look East” policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Szijjártó, the role of “the East” in the global economy has significantly improved in recent years and balanced bilateral ties with Eastern countries will benefit Hungarian enterprises. The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping a new global economic order in which Hungary wants to be one of the winners.
The visit also proves Hungary’s appreciation for Việt Nam’s role and position in its “Look East” policy.
Due to COVID-19 that led to disruptions in the global supply chain, Hungarian enterprises tend to diversify potential markets, including the movement of their manufacturing operations to Việt Nam. As Hungary lies at the centre of Europe, the Vietnamese firms will have a chance to learn about nearby markets, contributing to popularising Vietnamese trademarks in Europe in the near future.
Despite the pandemic, trade between the two nations still rose in the first half of this year, amounting to $456.76 million, up 43.11 per cent year-on-year. Việt Nam’s exports to the European nation were mostly electronics and spare parts, transportation equipment, footwear and apparel while importing machinery and pharmaceuticals.
The two countries are facing difficulties in the disbursement of a EUR500 million preferential credit package funded by the Hungarian Government. Only EUR60 million of which has been disbursed for the construction of Cần Thơ Cancer Hospital.
Tens of thousands of workers lost jobs in Hungary due to the pandemic. Around 2,700 Vietnamese guest workers are in the European nation. — VNS