Canada and Vietnam commemorate 50th year of diplomatic relations

August 25, 2023 | 19:10
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The relationship between Canada and Vietnam has developed in a gratifying way and has achieved many great breakthroughs over the past five decades, according to the Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam, Shawn Perry Steil.
Canada and Vietnam commemorate their 50th year of diplomatic relations
Shawn Steil, Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam

A few months after the Paris Peace Accords were signed, Canada and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations on August 21, 1973. Now 50 years later, relations remain strong as the two countries welcome this important milestone.

On August 24, Shawn Steil, Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam, and Dao Hong Lan, Vietnamese Minister of Health, commemorated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in a celebratory event in Hanoi.

“Rooted in strong people-to-people ties, we reaffirm the strength and depth of the friendship between our two countries as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Canada - Vietnam diplomatic relations. We are committed to advancing shared interests and addressing common challenges collectively and effectively. We look forward to forging deeper links by building on this important partnership in the years to come,” said Steil.

The ambassador spoke of his admiration of Vietnam's growing international role, as the country's government and people show increasing confidence on the world stage, part of which comes from the recent sustained economic growth.

"Vietnam is leading the region, and maybe the world, in economic development. Countries are increasingly looking to Vietnam as a centre of manufacturing excellence. Soon Vietnam will be not only be manufacturing, it will be innovating and will be buying not just made-in Vietnamese products, but products invented in Vietnam. So the future is very bright for Vietnam globally," he said.

Within ASEAN, he sees Vietnam as playing a key leadership role. "ASEAN is an increasingly important organisation, a great example of consensus building, and multilateralism, and Vietnam's diplomacy, with its great history of fine diplomats, plays a critical role in bringing consensus to that group. Vietnam has the potential to play a leadership role even beyond the region. And with a partner like Canada, there is no limit to what Vietnam could do," the ambassador stated.

Canada and Vietnam commemorate their 50th year of diplomatic relations

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) created the conditions to further strengthen bilateral trade and promote two-way foreign direct investment in 2018. In addition to the CPTPP, Canada and Vietnam continue to advance discussions and negotiations towards a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement in the future.

In 2022, trade between Canada and Vietnam hit $13.8 billion and Vietnam was the eighth-largest source of international students for Canadian educational institutions.

The two countries established a Joint Economic Committee in January 2022 to further enhance trade and economic relations, and since 1990, the government of Canada has contributed approximately $1.8 billion in international assistance to help reduce poverty and inequality, empower women and girls, and address climate change.

In November last year, Canada launched its Indo-Pacific Strategy, highlighting the potential of Vietnam as a partner for Canada in the region.

Canada is an integral partner of Vietnam’s Just Energy Transition Partnership, and the two countries enjoy constructive engagement in multilateral forums such as the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, La Francophonie, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

A permanent presence of the Canada Border Services Agency was established in Vietnam last year, with a Network Manager in Hanoi and a Liaison Officer in Ho Chi Minh City, in an effort to strengthen border management capacity and support in the region.

Canada established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1973, opening an Embassy in Hanoi in 1994 and a Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in 1995.

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