Remarkable outcomes reached during the recent visit to Vietnam by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob have created impetus for the development of the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership in the time to come.
During his visit, the Malaysian PM has met with top leaders of Vietnam. He held talks with Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh on March 21, and met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong; President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob also had meetings with leaders of major Vietnamese companies and Malaysian people in Vietnam, and attended a ceremony to exchange cooperation documents between the two countries.
Creating impetus for the development of the Vietnam-Malaysia cooperation
The Malaysian PM’s visit took place at a time when the Vietnam-Malaysia traditional friendship and strategic partnership has been thriving towards the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1973-2023).
During the talks between the two Prime Ministers, PM Chinh stressed that Yaakob’s visit to Vietnam is of great significance, creating a new impetus for the development of the bilateral relations.
For his part, PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob underlined that Malaysia gives high priority to further bolstering cooperation with Vietnam – the country’s sole strategic partner in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia gives high priority to further bolstering cooperation with Vietnam
The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in various fields and work together to achieve socio-economic recovery and development, including increasing the exchange of high-ranking delegations and at all levels and optimising bilateral cooperation mechanism, particularly the Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation; well implementing the action programme for the strategic partnership during the 2021-25; and stepping up people-to-people exchanges and holding activities marking the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties next year.
The leaders shared the view that economic, trade and investment cooperation has been a bright spot in the bilateral ties, and the two countries hold substantial potential to advance their partnership in those fields.
Regarding regional and international issues of shared concern, the leaders highly valued the close cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia at regional and international forums, and concurred to join efforts to build a united ASEAN and promote the bloc’s centrality in addressing emerging regional issues.
For the East Sea issue, they agreed to intensify coordination in information and stance with ASEAN, and called on related sides to exercise restraint, neither use force nor threaten to use force, and observe international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The PMs emphasised the importance of fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), maintaining and promoting a conducive environment for negotiations of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea (COC) to reach a substantive and effective document, in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS 1982.
Strive to raise two-way trade to 18 billion USD by 2025
The Government leaders of Vietnam and Malaysia agreed to work to raise two-way trade to 18 billion USD or even higher by 2025, and step up the trading of goods of their strength such as agricultural and aquatic products, Halal products and electronic components. The two sides will also study the building of a mechanism on information sharing regarding trade remedies.
The Malaysian PM pledged that Malaysia stands ready to help Vietnam expand and develop the Halal industry.
There is great potential for Vietnam and Malaysia to promote economic cooperation in the post-COVID-19 period, especially in trade and investment, Senior Director of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade & Industry’s ASEAN Economic Integration Division Jamilah Haji Hassan said in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the Malaysian PM’s visit.Leaders of Vietnam and Malaysia emphasised the importance of promoting balanced and sustainable development of bilateral trade, striving to raise their trade value to 18 billion USD by 2025.
Malaysia is currently Vietnam’s second largest trade partner in ASEAN and ninth globally. Meanwhile, Vietnam is Malaysia’s third biggest trade partner.
Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows that the two-way trade hit 12.5 billion USD last year, up 25.3 percent compared to 2020.
In the first two months of 2022, the bilateral trade neared 2.2 billion USD, up 20 percent year-on-year.
Malaysia is Vietnam’s second largest investor in ASEAN with 668 investment projects and a total registered capital of 13 billion USD, second only to Singapore, and ranks 10th among 140 countries and regions investing in Vietnam. The two countries agreed to expand investment cooperation between the two countries, especially in areas with great potential such as automation, smart logistics, innovation, high technology, digital economy, and digital transformation.
Malaysia is also the largest investor in Vietnam in the fields of manufacturing and real estate, with big names like Gamuda Berhad, Berjaya Corp Bhd, Public Bank, CIMB International Bank (CIMB Bank), among others. Many Malaysian companies are very interested in promoting cooperation with Vietnamese companies in processing Halal products in the context that both countries have strategies on ensuring food security.
The two leaders also agreed to maintain collaboration to improve the efficiency of various free trade agreements to which the countries are signatories, namely the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
A number of cooperation agreements signed
The PMs of Vietnam and Malaysia witnessed the exchange of a number of cooperation documents, including a memorandum of understanding on recruitment, employment and repatriation of labourers, and another on legal cooperation between the Vietnamese and Malaysian governments, along with a cooperation agreement between the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), and a letter of intent on cooperation between the two Diplomatic Academies of the two Foreign Ministries.
VNA Director-General Vu Viet Trang and Bernama Editor-in-Chief Khairdzir Md Yunus held talks and signed the agreement on March 19.
Vietnam and Malaysia have issued a joint press statement within the framework of the Vietnam visit by PM Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob and a high-ranking delegation of the Malaysian Government.
The official visit to Vietnam by the Malaysian PM has made the headlines of major media agencies in Malaysia which said the trip will help promote bilateral cooperation in multiple areas./.