Jun. 21 – China and Vietnam have signed several bilateral trade and infrastructure agreements during a visit by the Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to Beijing this week.
This is Vietnam’s first official visit since Premier Li and President Xi took office in China earlier this year. President Sang welcomed the invitation to visit China, saying the two countries “have huge potential for further speeding up cooperation.”
China and Vietnam will work to increase bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, technology, and education, according to President Sang. The two nations hope continued high-level visits between China and Vietnam will also increase mutual political confidence.
Several agreements of cooperation were signed to enhance bilateral relationships. A joint plan of action was implemented to facilitate continued growth of the Vietnam-China Comprehensive Strategic Co-operative Partnership, an initiative to increase trade, investment, and political cooperation between the countries.
China will participate in Vietnamese infrastructure development through a series of loans it agreed to make available for infrastructure companies in Vietnam. A line of preferential buyer’s credit worth US$45 million will be available for development of the Ninh Binh Fine Urea Plant in Vietnam.
The Chinese government also signed a framework agreement to provide preferential credit worth US$50 million for the development of Vietnam’s railway system. China has already issued US$1.6 billion in loans to assist infrastructure and commerce development in Vietnam.
Joint oil exploration was another topic of interest during President Sang’s visit. The two countries reaffirmed their interest in cooperative exploration and signed an amendment to extend mutual exploration in the Gulf of Tonkin by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group until 2016.
China and Vietnam will target US$60 billion in bilateral trade by 2015. Trade in 2012 was worth US$40 billion, with China exporting industrial technologies to Vietnam and importing many agricultural products from Vietnam, including rice worth a total of US$898 million.
Vietnam runs a trade deficit with China, but hopes the two countries can work to balance cross-border transactions. Last year, Vietnam imported US$28 billion in goods from China, yet exported only US$12 billion in return.
The talks come on the heel of increased maritime tensions between the two countries resulting from territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Officials from both countries agreed to pursue a diplomatic resolution to the dispute and stressed the importance of continued cooperation in bilateral trade.
“The friendship between Vietnam and China is a common precious asset of the two peoples. It was fostered by the older generations of leaders and peoples of the two countries. All of us are responsible for preserving, inheriting and promoting our friendship,” said President Sang.