Vietnam, Argentina enjoy thriving relations over five decades

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Argentinean Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship Santiago Andres Cafiero (July 11, 2022) (Photo: VNA)

Argentina was one of the three Latin American countries to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1973. Over the past five decades, the bilateral friendship and cooperation have been continuously strengthened and fruitfully developed.

Vietnam regards Argentina as one of its important partners in the Latin American region.

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s official visit to Argentina on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of  diplomatic ties between the two countries is expected to further strengthen the longstanding friendship and solidarity, expand legislative cooperation, and elevate the Comprehensive Partnership to a more substantive and effective level.

Friendly political relations, solidarity, and trust

The people of Vietnam and Argentina always show solidarity and support for each other. Vietnam always appreciates and remembers the Argentine people’s solidarity movement in support of Vietnam’s struggle for national liberation in the past.

The opening of Vietnamese and Argentine embassies in each other’s capitals in the 1990s, and regular high-level visits by senior leaders have created a strong impetus to promote political, economic, and cultural relations between the two nations.

In particular, after the two countries lifted their relationship to a comprehensive partnership in 2010, the bilateral relations recorded fruitful developments across fields.  Currently, the two sides are discussing the possibility of establishing a strategic partnership in specific areas.

In the past half-century, three Argentine Presidents made official visits to Vietnam. They are President Carlos Menem (February 1997), President Cristina Fernandez (January 2013), and President Mauricio Macri (February 2019).

Many delegations of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs also paid official visits to Vietnam, with the latest made by Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship Santiago Andrés Cafiero in July last year.

Vietnamese leaders visiting Argentina included State President Tran Duc Luong (November 2004), National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Van An (March 2006), Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (April 2010), NA Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu (July 2012), NA Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (July 2014), and NA Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty (July 2018).

The relationship between the legislative bodies of the two countries has developed effectively through the exchange of delegations, and meetings within the framework of multilateral parliamentary forums.

The Vietnamese NA established the Vietnam-Argentina Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group in November 2012, while the Argentine Chamber of Deputies set up the Argentina-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group in February this year.

The two countries have established numerous mechanisms and inked many important agreements to promote cooperation in areas of their respective strengths, including those on investment encouragement and protection, economic – trade cooperation, industrial and agricultural cooperation, veterinary cooperation, scientific and technological cooperation, cultural and educational cooperation, and cooperation in using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. A political consultation mechanism between the two foreign ministries has been also maintained.

Party General Secretary and President of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and President of Argentina Mauricio Macri witness the signing of cultural exchange programme for 2019-2023 between the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Argentine Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam and Argentina have also engaged in multilateral cooperation at international forums and organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

On the basis of the good political relations between the two nations, Vietnam wishes to receive Argentina’s support for its candidacy for a seat in the World Heritage Committee for the 2023-2027 tenure, and in the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for the 2025-2031 term.

Trade – economic bond posts increasing growth

In addition to good political-diplomatic relations, Vietnam and Argentina have also witnessed stronger development of economic, trade, and investment cooperation, which becomes the foundation for the long-term relationship between the two countries.

Vietnam is the sixth largest trade partner and the fifth largest importer of Argentine in the world. It is also a key Southeast Asian partner in the Latin American nation’s South-South cooperation. Meanwhile, Argentina remains Vietnam’s third-largest trade partner in Latin America.

Bilateral trade has been constantly increasing, from 316 million USD in 2007 to over 4.8 billion USD in 2022 (increasing by 15 times).

The two sides have identified potential and complementary strengths, thus further stepping up cooperation in existing areas in a substantive manner, as well as considering expanding new areas of cooperation such as energy and mining.

Vietnam welcomes Argentina’s proposal for negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and Vietnam.

Vietnam has opened its market to many Argentinean products such as beef, lemons, and grapefruits, and is considering allowing the import of oranges and pork from the Latin American country. It has also urged Argentina to maintain stable supply and reasonable prices for traditional Argentine products such as corn, soybeans, beef, and dairy products.

To ensure a sustainable trade balance and reduce Vietnam’s trade deficit with Argentina, the Vietnamese side has called on the Argentine side to increase the import of Vietnamese goods and open its market to Vietnamese farm produce such as lychee, mango, pepper, cashew nuts, aquatic products, rice, coffee, dried fruits, furniture, and construction materials.

Vietnam and Argentina are exploring opportunities to expand bilateral trade, towards lifting two-way trade to 10 billion USD by 2025.

Authorities and businesses of Vietnam and Argentina are considering opening a direct air route connecting the two nations, as well as strengthening cooperation and mutual support in areas of defence, justice, science – technology, sports, and culture./.