Viet Nam - largest Southeast Asian trade partner of Canada: Ambassador
Canadian Ambassador to Viet Nam Deborah Paul. (Photo: VNA)
The positive relationship between Canada and Viet Nam is strong and growing every year, said Canadian Ambassador to Viet Nam Deborah Paul while granting an interview to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet), the most important festival of the Vietnamese people in a year.
The diplomat affirmed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was another positive year for the two countries' expanding ties.
Trade and investment is an important driver of Canada-Viet Nam ties, she said, adding that Viet Nam continues to be Canada’s largest trading partner in the ASEAN region.
In the first 11 months of 2021, two-way trade has already surpassed the 2020 performance, reaching a record of over 9.5 billion CAD (7.46 billion USD), she noted.
The Canada-Viet Nam Joint Economic Committee was recently established, which will provide a forum for greater attention to bilateral trade issues, she said.
The positive momentum in bilateral relations was exemplified on several fronts, including a high-level dialogue between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at COP26 last November in the UK.
In July 2021, during the inaugural Defence Policy Dialogue between Canada and Viet Nam, both sides reached agreement on a three-year plan on defence cooperation, said the ambassador.
She said she is proud of the strong people-to-people ties between the two countries that are highlighted through bilateral educational cooperation and exchanges.
Since December 2020, almost 19,000 Vietnamese citizens have been granted permits to study in Canada.
Canada promotes cultural diplomacy in Viet Nam through the screening of Canadian films - both English and French, and by organising exchange events with Canadian artists.
Commenting on Viet Nam’s performance in COVID-19 prevention and control, the diplomat said that Canada is encouraged by the efforts of the Vietnamese government and by the citizens of Viet Nam who have come together to combat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the pandemic, Viet Nam’s economy has remained resilient, and Viet Nam has taken decisive steps to limit both the health and economic fallout, she noted.
Canada is pleased to contribute to Viet Nam’s ongoing efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic. “Canada has provided international assistance to help fight and prevent COVID-19, and we are one of the top contributors to COVAX globally,” the ambassador said.
Canada recently contributed 3 million CAD (2.35 million USD) to support the project “Leveraging Viet Nam’s social impact business ecosystem in response to COVID-19 (ISEE-COVID)”.
This project will enable many social impact businesses and women-focused ones to respond to COVID-19 impacts by offering vulnerable people and the poor jobs and livelihoods.
The ambassador underlined that Canada sees women’s empowerment as the most effective means to reduce poverty globally.
Consistent with evolving Vietnamese priorities and its transition to middle income country status, Canada is shifting its collaboration with Viet Nam to more targeted technical assistance focused on inclusive economic growth with an emphasis on gender equality, she said.
Currently, key sectors of support include food safety, trade facilitation, public-private partnership, women’s economic empowerment, and support to SMEs, cooperatives and social impact business.
The ambassador noted that Canada recently approved a project on “Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment in Viet Nam,” providing 4.4 million CAD (3.46 million USD) for Care Canada and Care Viet Nam to implement the project between 2021-2024.
“We are prioritising engagement with the private sector in order to leverage private sector resources to help achieve sustainable development goals”, she added.