By Viet Nam News
Asia News Network
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of Vietnam’s National Assembly, and Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, president of Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly (NLA), also expressed satisfaction with bilateral relations, as reflected in exchange visits by high-ranking delegations.
Pornpetch is on a four-day official visit to Vietnam, ending tomorrow (Wednesday).
Ngan reaffirmed that Vietnam gives its strategic partnership with Thailand high priority, but urged both sides to work more closely in implementing action plans drawn up for 2014-2018.
They should also strengthen important cooperation mechanisms such as joint cabinet meetings, political consultation and high-level dialogue on security and defence policy, she said.
Both sides agreed that designated parliamentary agencies should closely supervise the respective governments’ cooperation agreements and maintain delegation exchanges at all levels.
Highlighting thriving trade and investment ties, they noted that Thailand ranks 10th among foreign investors in Vietnam and is its biggest trade partner within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Vietnam is the eighth-largest foreign investor in Thailand.
Bilateral trade hit US$12.5 billion (Bt416 billion) in 2016, up 8.9 per cent year on year, and was approximately $7 billion in the first half of 2017, up 22.5 per cent year on year, they noted.
Ngan said the two sides should coordinate better to reach the targeted trade revenue of $20 billion by 2020 and reduce their trade imbalance, since Vietnam still has a high trade deficit with Thailand.
More favourable conditions should be created for Vietnamese and Thai businesses to boost trade and investment activities, she added.
She pledged that the National Assembly and government of Vietnam would create optimal conditions for Thai firms to invest in tourism – particularly marine tourism – textile and garment, footwear, cosmetics, food, agriculture, machinery, chemicals and material production sectors.
These are areas that match Thailand’s strengths and Vietnam’s potential, she said.
Echoing his host, Pornpetch said the two countries need to step up partnership in trade and investment and gradually balance the trade deficit.
Thailand wants more Vietnamese investment, he said, adding that the two legislative agencies are ready to work together to resolve obstacles facing investors.
Last year about 800,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Thailand, but only 260,000 Thais visited Vietnam.
Pornpetch said he hoped that, after more routes linking the two countries are opened, the number of Thai visitors to Vietnam will surge.
Ngan said that, as Asean members, Vietnam and Thailand need to enhance solidarity to promote the bloc’s unity, strength and central role. They should remain steadfast on Asean’s common principles and viewpoints on regional and global issues, she said.
She urged further coordination with each other and other Mekong riparian countries to promote cooperation, management and sustainable use of the river’s water resources, and to effectively implement the outcomes of the seventh summit of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy held last October.
The legislators discussed the signing of a new memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand, as well as the signing of an agreement to set up a hotline for fisheries activities at sea.
Ngan suggested that both sides consider expanding the areas of work as well as job openings for Vietnamese workers in Thailand.
The labour ministries of both countries should carry out relevant procedures soon so that Thailand can officially recruit Vietnamese workers, she said.
She also thanked the Thai government for creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese-Thais to integrate into local society and for the construction and management of the relic sites related to late President Ho Chi Minh in Udon Thani and Nakhon Phanom provinces.
The officials also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern.
Ngan said Vietnam wants to continue working with Thailand to strengthen Asean solidarity, boost the bloc’s common voice and role in settling security and development affairs in the region, and help deal with East Sea (South China Sea) disputes through peaceful means, in line with international law.