The seminar was attended by representatives from ministries, sectors, and research institutions, and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam (INCHAM).
The event aimed to open opportunities for speakers and participants to present, and exchange opinions, thereby further promoting bilateral relations. According to the organisers, the opinions and recommendations discussed in the seminar will be gathered and sent to competent authorities, serving as a basis for policy-making.
In addition, the seminar aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India (1972 - 2022), and the six years since the upgrading of the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Speaking to open the seminar, Ton Sinh Thanh, former Ambassador of Vietnam to India and a faculty member of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said Vietnam and India had many opportunities for cooperation.
Firstly, the two countries have a very good partnership, which has been upgraded to the highest level of a comprehensive strategic partnership, he said. Secondly, both Vietnam and India have the fastest growth rates in the world, despite the effects of the pandemic and global economic fluctuations. The two economies with rapid growth have created a need for cooperation.
Bilateral trade cooperation between Vietnam and India has increased rapidly from $200 million in 2000 to more than $13 billion in 2021, towards the target of $15 billion in 2022.
Thanh said, “I think the trade results are largely driven by the market's impulses, not really the government's measures. In fact, Vietnam and India only have one free trade agreement, the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement, which has been in effect since 2010.”
Thanh said that Vietnam - India cooperation has great potential, but there were still many obstacles. Trade turnover between Vietnam and India is still significantly lower than that of Vietnam with other partners such as the US and China.
“I hope the seminar will not only look into opportunities but frankly point out challenges, and find specific solutions, thereby promoting the comprehensive strategic cooperation relationship, especially economic cooperation,” said Thanh.
|Ton Sinh Thanh, former Ambassador of Vietnam to India, speaking at the event |
At the seminar, there were two discussion panels with themes of trade - tourism, and investment - digital transformation. According to the speakers, Vietnam and India still have a lot of room for cooperation development.
Mini Kuman, the first secretary of the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, pointed out many potential fields to cooperate between the two sides, such as engineering and healthcare.
She said: “India is good in auto parts components, and tools for many agriculture or those used in scientific laboratories. Our machines and tools are quite good and affordable. Some studies showed that SMEs, which account for most businesses in Vietnam, are importing these types of machinery and tools from Europe. So, why don't we look at an Indian market?”
“Some studies showed that Vietnam, with nearly 100 million people, is spending almost $23 billion per annum on healthcare expenditures, about 6.5 per cent of the GDP. Meanwhile, 1.4 billion Indian people spend on healthcare expenses, about 2.1 per cent of GDP. Why are Indians spending less? Because our drugs and medicines are very affordable and effective. We have been supplying the world including advanced economies. So, we have been requesting authorities also and businessmen to exploit this potential further," she added.
|Attendees at the event |
Hoang Quoc Viet, general director of Vietsoftpro said, "Many Vietnamese businesses cooperate with India to import technology products. But Vietsoft is different. We want to cooperate with India in human resources, specifically recruiting Indian IT engineers to work in Vietnam. Vietsoftpro plans to invest in a branch in India in the future."
He pointed out that cooperation in the digital transformation between Vietnam and India had great potential. While Vietnam is accelerating digital transformation strongly, India has strengths of IT training, high-quality IT human resources, and many large experienced enterprises.
"However, there are some difficult issues regarding visa procedures for long-term workers and procedures for establishing a new branch. I hope that through the seminar, the governments from the two sides will be more open about investment and worker procedures," Hoang Quoc Viet said.
Over more than four hours, participants at the seminar showed their enthusiasm and wish to see the Vietnam-India relationship raised to a new height.