The year 2023 marks an important milestone in the Vietnam – Canada relationship with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. It is considered a solid foundation to start a new chapter for bilateral ties.
Comprehensive partnership developing well
Vietnam and Canada set up their diplomatic relations on August 21, 1973. The relationship was upgraded to a comprehensive partnership level on the occasion of the official visit to Vietnam by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November 2017.
The joint statement on the establishment of the comprehensive partnership set out basic principles orienting relations between the two countries, as well as directions and measures to promote cooperation. The focus is on diplomacy, trade and investment, development cooperation, defence and security, culture and education, technology, and people-to-people exchanges.
Since then, the bilateral relationship has deepened in various fields. In diplomacy, Vietnam and Canada have demonstrated their friendship in the spirit of cooperation through visits of their senior leaders.
The two countries have also maintained regular contacts on the sidelines of high-level international and regional multilateral conferences and forums. Most recently, on the occasion of the expanded G7 Summit in Japan, on May 20 this year, PM Pham Minh Chinh met his Canadian counterpart Trudeau to discuss bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The bilateral security and defence cooperation has been strongly promoted in accordance with the comprehensive partnership framework. People-to-people exchanges and cooperation between localities are also growing increasingly active and effective. Cultural weeks and people-to-people exchange events are regularly held in both nations.
The two sides have also shared many similarities in international issues and maintained close coordination at multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Vietnam always supports Canada’s role as a bridge to the Asia-Pacific and welcomes its contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Meanwhile, Canadian leaders repeatedly affirmed that Canada has long-term interests in the Asia-Pacific, and Vietnam is its important partner in the region. They also expressed their wishes to promote friendship and long-term cooperation with Vietnam.
Ample room for economic and trade cooperation
The comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Canada is a solid foundation for the development of economic relations between the two countries. Since 2017 when the partnership was set up, the bilateral import and export turnover has grown strongly.
According to the General Statistics Office, in 2018, two-way trade reached 3.86 billion USD, up 10.31% year-on-year. In 2019, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Vietnam and Canada are two out of 11 members, took effect in Vietnam, pushing the turnover to a new height with a growth rate of 22.53% to hit 4 .74 billion USD.
In 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the global supply chain, trade growth between the two countries slowed. It still achieved an increase rate of 7.27% reaching 5.08 billion USD. The figure rose to 6.02 billion USD in 2021 and 7.03 billion USD in 2022. In the first seven months of this year, two-way trade reached 3.6 billion USD.
In addition, investment activities have also achieved remarkable results. As of July, Canada invested in 253 projects totalling 4.84 billion USD in Vietnam. In addition, Canada maintains official development assistance (ODA) for the Southeast Asian nation. Since 1990, Canada’s ODA to Vietnam has been totaled at about 2 billion CAD (1.47 billion USD).
Education and training is an area of focus in the bilateral relationship and Canada has also identified Vietnam as a priority market for educational cooperation. Currently, there are about 21,000 Vietnamese students learning in Canada.
There are currently about 250,000 Vietnamese people in Canada who have made important contributions to socioeconomic development and to enriching the culture of Canada. The quintessence of Vietnamese cuisine has also become very familiar in the daily lives of many Canadians.
Looking back on the past 50 years, it can be seen that despite the complicated changes in the world and the region, the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Canada has grown steadily, becoming more and more substantial and efficient.
There remains huge potential to further promote the comprehensive partnership. With a long history of friendship and cooperation, with the affection of many generations of leaders and people of the two countries, the bilateral relationship will surely go further in the future./.