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President Bachelet’s visit to augment Vietnam-Chile partnership    
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President Bachelet’s visit to augment Vietnam-Chile partnership President of Chile Michelle Bachelet (Photo: seriousfacts.com)
Nov 08 2017

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet will pay a State visit to Vietnam from November 8 to 9 at the invitation of her Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang, a trip expected to intensify the two countries’ partnership.

Since diplomatic ties were set up on March 25, 1971, bilateral relations have developed in all aspects.

Visits at all levels have been held regularly, including the trips to Chile by then Prime Minister Phan Van Khai in October 2002 and then President Tran Duc Luong in November 2004, and an official trip to Vietnam by then Chilean President Ricardo Lagos in October 2003. Presidents Tran Dai Quang and Michelle Bachelet also had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, in May 2017.

Bilateral cooperation mechanisms have been maintained and proved effective such as meetings of the bilateral Free Trade Council and political consultations at the deputy foreign ministerial level.

In November 2011, Vietnam and Chile signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on the fringe of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii, the US. This trade pact took effect on January 1, 2014.

The two countries held the first meeting of their Free Trade Council in Santiago de Chile in November 2014 and the second meeting in Hanoi in July 2016.

Trade between the two APEC economies has been growing strongly, from 170 million USD in 2005 to more than 1 billion USD in 2016. It reached 955 million USD in the first nine months of 2017. Vietnam has exported about 740 million USD worth of goods to Chile, mainly footwear, garments, wood furniture, cement, coffee and rice, while importing 206 million USD worth of Chilean commodities, including aquatic products, vegetables, animal fat and vegetable oil, wood and wood products, steel, animal food material and wine.

Over the years, they have inked several cooperation documents such as an agreement on economic and trade cooperation, an agreement on investment promotion and protection, an agreement on science-technology cooperation, a visa exemption agreement, and the bilateral FTA. They also signed other cooperation deals on agriculture, mining, fisheries and tourism.

Vietnam and Chile have coordinated well at international organisations and multilateral forums. The South American nation supported Vietnam’s candidacy for non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2008-2009 and for a seat in the UN Economic and Social Council in October 1997. It recognised the Southeast Asian country’s market economy in 2007. Meanwhile, Vietnam supported Chile’s candidacy for membership in the UN Human Rights Council for 2008-2010.

The upcoming State visit to Vietnam by President Bachelet aims to strengthen the two countries’ friendship and all-round cooperation. During this trip, the two sides are set to work out measures to enhance their comprehensive partnership, particularly in economy, trade, investment, culture, science, technology and tourism, as well as in the fields of shared concern.
-VNA