Vietnam - Israel Inter-Governmental Committee convened 3rd meeting in Hanoi
|Vietnam - Israel Inter-Governmental Committee holds 3rd meeting in Hanoi: Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat (L) and Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat show the signed minutes of the third meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee in Hanoi on August 16, 2023. (Photo: Vietnam Government Portal)
The event took place under the chair of Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat and Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat.
Highlighting the significance of the meeting after a six-year hiatus, Dat said the event was held amidst the 30th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (July 12, 1993 - 2023) and following the signing of the Vietnam - Israel Free Trade Agreement (VIFTA) after seven years of negotiations. It provided a condition for the countries to continue fostering comprehensive cooperation in the new context.
He noted that bilateral cooperation has been growing well in the recent past.
In the first half of 2023, their trade revenue approximated 1.4 billion USD, up 21% year on year. That comprised 336.7 million USD in Vietnam’s exports to Israel, down 17.6%, and 1.05 billion USD in imports, up 42.3%. Vietnam’s trade deficit with Israel surged 116.4% to 714.8 million USD, statistics show.
The VIFTA signing has opened up a new chapter and marked a stride in bilateral relations, he said, considering the deal as a condition for the two sides to increase their trade by 10 - 15% this year so as to reach the target of 3 billion USD in the coming time.
Minister Barkat said his country wants to focus on several groups of sectors that it is strong at, including high technology; home security; application of Industry 4.0 technology to raise productivity; health care and life aspects; desert technology, agriculture, food; and hi-tech tourism.
To Israel, Vietnam is a highly potential land because it not only has population of nearly 100 million and fast growth but also serves as an important gateway to other markets, he went on.
Sharing the view that cooperation potential in all fields remain substantial, the officials said the two countries boast a number of complementary advantages for cooperation, and they need to seek measures for tapping into each side’s advantages to further promote cooperation effectiveness.
Israel is currently the third largest export market and the fifth biggest trading partner of Vietnam. It is considered a potential market for Vietnamese goods in the West Asia region.
Stressing the importance of the VIFTA signing, Minister Dat and Minister Barkat said the agreement has created a new chance for bolstering bilateral trade and investment, providing a crucial prerequisite for the countries to reach the trade target of 3 billion USD.
They agreed on the need to complete the procedures for ratifying the VIFTA early and help businesses learn about the potential and opportunities it generates. Meanwhile, the two governments should supply information for enterprises, step up trade and investment promotion, and expand partnerships between their business communities.
In terms of science and technology, Vietnam and Israel will coordinate to fruitfully carry out the signed agreements, foster cooperation in startup and innovation, and view science - technology as the focal priority and one of the pillars of bilateral cooperation. Particularly, they will enhance ties in the areas related to emerging economic trends and those matching Vietnam’s development strategy, including sustainable development, digital transformation, green economy, and circular economy, among others.
Both sides will continue strengthening collaboration in the fields of agriculture, environment, energy, customs, information technology, quality standards, development cooperation, education, tourism, and justice, the ministers added.
At the meeting, the officials witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Authority of Information Security under the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications and the information safety agency of Israel.
They agreed to hold the fourth meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee in Israel in 2025.
Talking to the Vietnamese media on the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Barkat held that to further boost cooperation in startup, innovation and technology transfer, the two sides should learn about the demand of each country’s private sector, which will help Israel’s private sector expand their operations in not only Vietnam but also the ASEAN region.
He pledged coordination to ensure the first Israeli companies present in Vietnam and ASEAN will reap success, adding that 10,000 Israeli startups will question whether they should come to open companies in Vietnam, and when the answer is “yes”, many other firms will follow.