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Norway PM seeks ways to step up bilateral ties on Vietnam visit

Friday, April 17, 2015, 15:12 GMT+7

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg arrived in Hanoi on Thursday for a three-day visit to promote all-round ties between her country and Vietnam. The visiting premier intends to seek specific orientations and measures to beef up bilateral cooperation across economy, investment, climate change, water management, renewable energy, agriculture, maritime economy, oil and gas, and the shipbuilding industry, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norway also will look to push up negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) toward its conclusion this year, accelerate affiliation in realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and work out sustainable development goals in post-2015.  PM Solberg is scheduled to talk with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and attend a seminar on the implementation of the MDGs on Friday. She is also slated to meet with State President Truong Tan Sang and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.  Talking with reporters at a short press briefing in Hanoi on Thursday evening, PM Erna Solberg said, “I think Vietnam and Norway have a very good relationship based on business, trade, and international cooperation within United Nations projects, such as UNICEF, where we are partners in promoting education, social development, job investment, and job creation,” according to the Vietnam News Agency. Trade between the two countries topped US$307.8 million in 2014, up 28 percent from a year earlier. Norway imports aquatic, chemical and steel products, machinery, spare parts, and fertilizers, while Vietnam mainly exports textile-garments, footwear, timber and wood products, and cashew nuts to the Northern European country.  “About the trade figure, I think it will increase in the future as Norway has a large Vietnamese community with many contacts in their home country,” the Vietnam News Agency quoted the Norwegian premier as saying at the press briefing. By the end of February 2015, Norwegian investors had 30 valid projects worth $121 million in Vietnam, ranking 37th among the countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian country. Vietnam and Norway set up their diplomatic ties in November 1971 and their bilateral relations have increasingly developed in every aspect including politics, trade, and culture ever since.

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