(VOV) – Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has stressed the importance of expanding overseas outlets for Vietnamese goods, suggesting such expansion propels consistent economic growth and job generation.
“It is necessary to grow beyond the traditional markets for key Vietnamese exports such as rice, coffee, cashew nuts, seafood, garments, and footwear,” Dung told a conference in Hanoi on December 17.
He urged the diplomatic and economic sectors to capitalise on recently negotiated free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral economic agreements that open new markets to Vietnamese products.
He asked both sectors to work on attracting new foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA) in order to fund infrastructure development and especially transport infrastructure upgrades, poverty reduction, and climate change adaptation.
The PM said he wants to see additional progress in economic integration and confidence-building. He asked the two sectors to make the most of international support for Vietnam’s socio-economic development and do their part to maintain security, national defence, and sovereign territorial integrity.
He reminded the diplomatic sector to renew its focus on people-to-people diplomacy, cultural exchanges, education and training, and scientific-technological cooperation. Overseas Vietnamese affairs must not be neglected, the government leader said.
In a report, Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said over the past two years the diplomatic sector has made a significant contribution to creating a stable environment for national development.
In 2012-2013 Vietnam negotiated five more strategic partnerships, two more comprehensive partnerships, and deepened its relations with a number of other international partners.
The country actively participated in regional and international forums including ASEAN, and increased its APEC, ASEM, and Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) cooperation to address emerging non-traditional challenges such as food security, water resource use, and climate change.
Vietnam is implementing its commitments as a WTO member and signatory of eight FTAs, and is currently negotiating six other FTAs with key partners.
Minh said Vietnam’s externally oriented economy has defied domestic and international pressures to improve its efficiency and make its first steps towards the emerging opportunities in Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa.
He said representative Vietnamese agencies overseas have supported mobilising ODA and FDI, boosted trade promotion, tourism, and exports, and protected Vietnamese business interests in trade disputes.
Deeper international integration has helped elevate Vietnam’s international standing and expanded the resources it can call upon to stoke its development, Minh told the conference.
Despite the global economic downturn over the past two years, he said two-way trade with Vietnam’s major partners has kept rising, FDI has recovered, committed development aid remains positive, and foreign arrivals to Vietnam surged to an estimated 7.3 million this year.
Vietnam has successfully lobbied 14 countries to recognise its market economy status, and works hard to protest against trade protectionism and discrimination with regard to anti-dumping lawsuits.
According to Minh, Vietnam needs an overall international integration strategy that prioritises economic integration and diplomatic relations in a manner consolidating national security and development.
He stressed deeper international integration requires Vietnam to accelerate institutional reform, finalise legislation, improve economic competitiveness, upgrade communications, and increase the quality of human resources.