President calls for closer economic ties with Belarus

HA NOI - Viet Nam and Belarus need to further strengthen co-operation in trade, investment and science and technology, President Tran Duc Luong has told the chairman of the upper chamber of Belarus' parliament, Gennady Novitsky.

Speaking at a meeting with the National Assembly Council of the Republic of Belarus chairman, Luong said the Vietnamese State and its people considered Belarus a close friend.

President Tran Duc Luong and Chairman of the National Assembly Council of the Republic of Belarus Gennady Novitsky. - VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sang

NA Chairman Nguyen Van An holds talks with the National Assembly delegation from Belarus. - VNA/VNS Photo Tri Dung

He said that through co-operation, the two nations could be of benefit to one another. Viet Nam, with a population of more than 80 million, needed machinery and technology from other countries and Belarus could meet the demand, he said. At the same time, many Vietnamese goods were suitable for Belarus as well as its neighbouring countries, he said.

To boost bilateral ties, Luong emphasised that the two governments needed to take a look at taxes, administrative procedures, transport and payment methods.

Novitsky agreed with Luong about the bilateral potential, especially in economy and trade. It was possible to double or even triple trade, he said. However, for that, the inter-governmental co-operation committee needed to take active steps, he pointed out.

Parliament co-operation

The two sides expressed determination to further strengthen relations between their respective top policy-making agencies to support the comprehensive development in bilateral ties.

In a meeting yesterday morning in Ha Noi, National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Van An and Novitsky signed a memorandum of understanding and co-operation between the two NAs and witnessed a signing ceremony to twin Da Nang with Belarus' Grodno Province.

They also exchanged notes on the situation in the two countries and discussed future direction and measures to further consolidate and promote co-operation between the two parliaments.

Novitsky said Belarus appreciated the important role Viet Nam played in Southeast Asia and, indeed, Asia and praised its socio-economic achievements. He said the relationship between Belarus and Viet Nam was based on brotherhood and trust. The Belarusian National Assembly expected to exchange experiences with its Vietnamese counterpart, especially in drafting laws, he said. He greeted the country on the occasion of the 50th year of victory at Dien Bien Phu, the 30th year of South liberation and the 115th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh.

The two chairmen agreed that while political relations between the two countries were developing smoothly, co-operation in many other fields like economic and trade remained low. The two sides were yet to fulfil their potential, they said.

In future, the two houses would continue to strongly support co-operation agreements signed by the two governments in an effort to execute them effectively, they promised. Novitsky and his delegation later attended the Viet Nam NA plenary session at Ba Dinh Hall.

Trade promotion

The same afternoon, the visiting dignitary met Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Dung thanked Belarus for supporting Viet Nam during its years of struggle for independence. He said the two governments needed to assign priority and create conditions for companies to seek trade opportunities and get chambers of industry and commerce in the two countries to organise seminars and exhibitions.

The Vietnamese side was willing to co-operate to create favourable conditions to take care of both countries' interests, he assured.

Novitsky agreed it was necessary to boost co-operation, trade and investment between the two nations.

In 2004, bilateral trade reached US$19.3 million. The figure is expected to double this year. - VNS