Spain, which is one of the world leaders in clean energy, wants to boost its partnership with Vietnam in the field, Jiménez told Vietnam News Agency in an interview on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the two nations' diplomatic relations (May 23, 1977 – 2022).
More and more Spanish companies are investing in Vietnam, particularly in sectors of common interest and those which suit both countries’ orientations towards sustainable development, she said.
She highly appreciated Vietnam's strong commitments made at the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) last year and its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, saying Vietnam must forge major reforms to realise its sustainable development ambitions.
Referring to the progress of bilateral relations, she said that in the past Spain had boosted development cooperation with Vietnam, with emphasis placed on sustainable development and gender equality.
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) has provided 19 million EUR in financial assistance for projects supporting women in Vietnam, particularly victims of gender-based violence, she added.
With Vietnam now becoming a middle-income country, the bilateral cooperation has shifted its focus to economic fields.
Regarding activities marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the ambassador said they will be mainly organized online given the COVID-19 pandemic.
The embassy has coordinated with Casa Asia (Asia House) and agencies at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the celebrations, with activities including the launch of a special website.
The website will feature an exhibition displaying works by female comic authors from Vietnam and Spain; provide information to improve mutual understanding between the two peoples; and introduce outstanding scientific research studies.
A number of photos capturing milestones in the bilateral relations are being displayed outside the embassy's headquarters in Hanoi, the diplomat said.
For economic and trade ties, she noted that the E.U.-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which came into force in 2021, has established a legal framework and mechanism facilitating cooperation between the two countries.
Méndez Jiménez expressed her belief that there remains substantial potential in this regard as the deal took effect amid the pandemic.
The agreement will accelerate the reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, thus helping Vietnam and Spain tap their potential for bilateral cooperation, she continued.
Statistics show as of August 2021, Spain had 82 projects worth over 134 million USD in Vietnam, ranking 46th out of 140 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation.
Despite the pandemic, two-way trade still reached 2.3 billion USD in the first nine months of 2021.
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