Nguyen Thac Dinh, when he spoke about the future of two countries’ comprehensive cooperation development. According to him, the current economic ties between the two countries were beyond their potential and the desire of their leaders. Vietnam and Brazil are holding many advantages to bring their relationship to a new height.
Economic diplomacyIn 2009, Vietnam and Brazil will celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relation establishment. What are the major achievements of the two-way cooperative relations?
Vietnam and Brazil set up the diplomatic relations in 1989 and will celebrate the 20th founding anniversary in 2009. Over the past 20 years, the political ties between Vietnam and Brazil have been very good. The two nations have exchanged many high-ranking official visits, signed many agreements and especially supported, promoted and facilitated their enterprises to approach, exchange and learn each other to build long-term commercial and investment ties. This period of time also asserted the traditional and reliable mutual ties. This is also the foundation to open a new page of the all-faceted relationship between the two nations.
In recent years, leaders of the two countries exchanged their visits. How do you assess the meaning of these visits, especially the entourage to Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh’s visit to Brazil in May 2007?
In the recent years, the two countries have exchanged many high-ranking official visits. On the Vietnamese side, former President Le Duc Anh, former President Tran Duc Luong, former Chairman of National Assembly Nguyen Van An and most recently Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh (in 2007) visited Brazil. On the Brazilian side, Foreign Minister Celsso Amorim (in February 2008) and President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (July 2008) paid working visits to Vietnam. The results of these visits brought their relationship to a new level. Remarkably, at the visit of Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, the two nations released the joint statement asserting to establish a comprehensive partnership for mutual benefits. During these senior visits, the two nations signed seven agreements, protocols and memorandums of understanding in all fields. Especially, during the Vietnam visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, Vietnam and Brazil inked a memorandum of understanding on the formation of a joint committee which will monitor, supervise and promote mutual ties in all fields. At the same time, it will discuss measures to boost cooperation efficiency amongst the two-country enterprises.
Vietnam – Brazil economic, commercial and investment ties
What is your opinion about the two-way trade ties between Vietnam and Brazil?
In general, commercial, economic and investment ties between the two countries are further developed with increasing annual turnover. In the first year of diplomatic establishment, the bilateral trade turnover was only US$16 million but the figure was over US$300 million in 2007 and soared to above US$500 million in 2008, in which Vietnam earned US$200 million. Leaders of the two countries have set targets to bring the two-way trade turnover to US$1 billion in 2010. Vietnam’s major exports to Brazil include coal, footwear, rubber, latex, printers, toys, bike and motorbike tyres, canvass handbags, knitwear textile, electric engines, essential oil and hat-wear. Meanwhile, Vietnam imported timber, chicken, buffalo leather, soybean, threads, soybean oil, pulp, beef, raw cotton, cashew nuts, stainless steel sheet and orange juice.
Which feasibility is for the target of US$1 billion bilateral trade revenue in 2010?
The viable target of US$1 billion two-way trade turnover in 2010 was based on three factors. Firstly, leaders of the two countries have the common desires of boosting the bilateral ties toward the mutual benefit comprehensive partnership framework and facilitating their enterprises to do business together. Secondly, the two countries have rich potential for mutual cooperation, mutual advantage exploitation and mutual supplementation for joint development. Thirdly, Vietnam and Brazil signed a number of cooperative agreements and documents to lay the legal groundwork for mutual relationship expansion. In 2009, the two nations target the two-way trade revenue of US$750 million and the US$1 billion for 2010 is completely within reach. The two nations’ enterprises are boosting their ties thanks to recent trade promotion activities.
Do you think that the two-way trade turnover is limited due to similar market conditions?
Of course, they have many same commodities but there are still others that hold potential for export. The two countries agree on cooperation instead of competition. For example, Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world only after Brazil. Several Brazilian enterprises have established partnership ties with Vietnamese firms to build instant coffee factories in Vietnam and purchase Vietnamese coffee for export. Or, oil and gas is the field of possible joint cooperation. Brazil Petrobras, the world’s fifth largest oil company, expressed its want to boost cooperation with the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and are willing to welcome PetroVietnam to pay business trip to discuss and sign memorandums of understanding on specific fields.
What is the hardest difficulty when doing business in this market?
The main difficulty is still the geographical distance. The far distance leads to higher costs of commodities; thus, blunting competitive edge. In addition, enterprises of the two countries remain unclear about business procedures, practices and market conditions. Therefore, the responsibility of the Embassy and the Office for Commercial Affairs is to provide sufficient information about the fields of common concerns. At present, enterprises of the two nations can visit the two websites of the Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil at www.vietnamembassy-brazil.org and the Chamber of Commerce at www.ecoviet.com.br. The Brazil – Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, established at the Brazil visit of Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, is also an address for Vietnamese enterprises to visit to search for necessary information and support.
Embassy/Chamber of Commerce as a bridgeWith its philosophy of economic diplomacy, what are the plans of the Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil to boost business exchange and cooperation between the two countries?
The common task of the Embassy as well as the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce in Brazil is to boost economic diplomacy and put economic contents to high-ranking visits. The next task is to support enterprises of the two countries to join hands and do business with each other. Therefore, the Vietnamese Embassy in Brazil has recently held seminars on business opportunities between Vietnam and Brazil.
Besides, the Embassy and the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce in Brazil are always willing to assist enterprises. Any enterprise which wants to do business with Brazil can email and call the Embassy and the Chamber of Commerce. We are always willing to reply and we are ready to receive and support visiting Vietnamese business delegations in Brazil.
In 2009, Vietnam and Brazil will celebrate the 20th founding anniversary. The embassy will continue popularising the image of Vietnam in Brazil to boost not only economic aspects but also cultural field. Expectedly, the embassy will organise the Vietnam Culture Days in Brazil, which will consist of seminars, trade fairs, exhibitions, arts shows and cinemas for Brazilians to understand more about Vietnam.
What do you think about the cooperation prospect between Vietnam and Brazil?
The future of Vietnam – Brazil ties will be very good. We are looking to economic and investment relation expansion. At present, the two countries have signed many cooperation agreements and will clinch more. These will be the legal base for mutual cooperation expansion. I believe that the mutual cooperative prospect will be surely very nice thanks to our strong foundation, potentiality and concerns of the two countries’ leaders.
Brazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva
It is necessary to expand the size and form of commercial exchange, stimulate investment, facilitate businesses of the two nations to expand close and long-term cooperative ties, especially in highly competitive fields like hydropower, bio-energy, steel production, food industry, wood processing, agriculture, husbandry and fishery.
VCCI Vice ChairmanDoan Duy Khuong
Brazil is a promising market for Vietnamese enterprises and is a gateway to penetrate South American markets. Meanwhile, Vietnam is a bridge for Brazilian businesses to penetrate the potential ASEAN markets.
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