Norway is committed to be a true friend of Viet Nam

25/11/2021| 11:38

This year, Norway and Viet Nam are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. On 25 November 1971, during the time of the American War in Viet Nam, Norway was among the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with Viet Nam.

Norway is committed to be a true friend of Viet NamNorwegian Ambassador Grete Løchen welcomed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse on an official visit to Norway in May 2019. (Photo: Norwegian Embassy in Viet Nam)

A good and solid friendship for 5 decades

Over 5 decades, Norway and Viet Nam have enjoyed a good and solid friendship and cooperation. Our two nations have many similarities as we are both coastal nations with a large seafood industry and among the world’s 10 largest fishery nations.

Viet Nam has during these years made significant socio-economic achievements, developing into a middle-income country and millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. This has also marked a significant shift in our historical relationship.

The traditional relationship based on development cooperation has evolved to one based on equal partnership and joint business and trade interests. We are no longer donor and recipient countries, we are now equal friends and partners, bilaterally and multilaterally.

Oceans truly connect us. Our bilateral cooperation in the blue economy has become a hallmark in this 50-year relationship.

Norway helped Viet Nam with the development of the first Fisheries Law. Norwegian research institutions have been collaborating with Nha Trang University in building a strong academic centre with high quality education and capacity in the marine sector.

Prominent Norwegian shipbuilding companies such as Vard have started operations in Viet Nam. Now we’re looking into how we can promote marine aquaculture and fish farming in Viet Nam. Norway has learned many valuable and practical lessons from the sustainable development of our famous salmon industry, and we’re ready to share our experiences with Viet Nam.

Since 1972, official government aid from Norway to Viet Nam has amounted to over 2.3 billion NOK (nearly 7 trillion VND). Some of the key priority areas have been to address the effects of climate change and deforestation together with developing a sustainable ocean economy. We are proud that Norwegian experts, academics and businesses have played a role in Viet Nam’s success in transforming itself towards what it is today.

Cross-cutting topics such as human rights, enhancing the role of women and gender equality and inclusion of ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups have been high on our mutual agenda.

This is more relevant than ever after the Covid-19 pandemic. Surveys show that women and other vulnerable groups have been the most negatively affected by the pandemic. Leave-no-one-behind and international solidarity is more important than ever if we’re going to succeed in reaching the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030. 

Norway is committed to be a true friend of Viet NamNorwegian Ambassador Grete Løchen. (Photo: Norwegian Embassy in Viet Nam)

Promoting a multilateral system

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg paid her first official visit to Viet Nam in April 2015, and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc also visited Norway in May 2019 when he was Viet Nam’s Prime Minister.

King Harald and Queen Sonja visited Viet Nam in 2004. Besides, our State leaders and Foreign Ministers regularly meet each other on the side-lines of various international summits, and we also cooperate constructively through organizations like The World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), ASEAN and now The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).

Like Viet Nam, Norway strongly supports a multilateral system with a strong and efficient UN at its core and a well-functioning international order.

Our cooperation in multilateral forums has become an important part of our bilateral relationship. I am very pleased that we are establishing closer dialogue and cooperation on a number of multilateral issues - not least in the UN Security Council (UNSC), where our two countries overlap as elected members this year.

Norway and Viet Nam share many of the same priorities in the Council, including women, peace and security, protection of civilians, as well as climate change and security. We enjoy the close dialogue we have established so far on these issues.

ASEAN provides another track for Norway and Viet Nam to work closely together on matters of mutual interest. Norway celebrated our 5th anniversary of sector dialogue partnership with ASEAN in 2020 under Viet Nam’s chairmanship. The Norwegian Parliament-Stortinget also obtained the status of observant parliament in AIPA last year.

As the world’s economy is becoming more globalized, Norway and Viet Nam share a strong interest in increased trade and investments. We see a lot of potentials for further growth between our two countries. However, we also want to contribute to a more sustainable and environment-friendly growth.

Our three key areas of business cooperation are mainly within sustainable ocean economy, renewable/clean energy, and circular economy solutions. Norway has strong expertise and experiences within these areas. We do see a keen interest from prominent Norwegian companies such as Scatec, Equinor, Skretting to invest in these areas together with already well-established Norwegian companies in Viet Nam such as Jotun, Yara, Pharmaq, DNV-GL, to name a few.

These companies are and will be creating new jobs for many Vietnamese as well as exchanging know-hows and transfer of technology. Of course, they will also promote Norwegian business values including Sustainability, Innovation, Safety at the workplace, Environmental friendliness and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

We therefore look forward to the completion of the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between Viet Nam and EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Iceland). An early conclusion would be in our common interest, bearing in mind the negative impacts of Covid-19 on our economies.

For sustainable and green development

Although 2021 has been unpredictable and challenging both health wise and economically due to the pandemic, we do see hopes as vaccination has started in big numbers at the global level. We have all started the process of living with Covid-19 in a safe and sustainable manner. The pandemic has taught us a lesson of patience and above all the need for international solidarity and cooperation.

Norway welcomes Viet Nam’s ambition of international integration and being seen as a responsible international partner. Viet Nam’s commitments at the recent Climate Summit in Glasgow (COP26) are highly appreciated.

Norway stands ready to continue our dialogue and cooperation on the issues of mutual concern, stand up for global values, and work constructively for sustainable and green development. We are committed to remaining a true friend of Viet Nam. We will go through challenges TOGETHER and make our shared future TOGETHER by leaving no one behind!

Norwegian Ambassador to Viet Nam Grete Løchen