Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım became the first Turkish premier to visit Vietnam when he arrived in the country on an official visit yesterday. The prime minister traveled to Vietnam following his Singapore visit which began Sunday. He attended bilateral meetings and business forums the following day, in an effort to boost ties between Ankara and Singapore. During his two-day state visit to Vietnam, Yıldırım will meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Ambassador to Ankara Pham Anh Tuan has said that the visit will be a turning point in the relations between the two countries which have shared diplomatic ties since 1978.
He said: "Turkey and Vietnam will celebrate the 40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties next year. We are very happy and proud that bilateral and business ties between the two countries continue to develop in every area." "This friendly and versatile business association between Turkey and Vietnam, without doubt, represents a stable ground for us to continue working for the mutual benefit and the welfare of our people," said Tuan. Ties between the two countries are progressing in every area, especially in economy and trade. So far, six Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings have been held between the two countries.
It was also reported that a total of 166 Turkish nationals live in Vietnam, while 466 Vietnamese citizens are living in Turkey.
MUTUAL TRADE TARGET SET AT $4B
Speaking of economic relations between the two countries, Tuan said that economic relations and trade between Turkey and Vietnam have developed and increased rapidly. He added that the trade volume between the two countries has increased almost 13 times since 2005, reaching nearly $2 billion last year.
"Turkey is at the moment one of the largest trading partners of Vietnam in the Middle East region. At the seventh meeting of the Turkey-Vietnam Joint Economic and Trade Committee, which was successfully held in Hanoi last month, we set up a target to bring the mutual trade with Turkey up to $4 billion by 2020. In this context, Turkish Airlines' (THY) direct flights between Istanbul and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city have brought the two countries closer," said Tuan.
"At the moment investment statistics show a relatively good picture, but, both sides have enormous potential for expansion and development," he said
Expressing his satisfaction with the recent developments regarding this issue, Tuan stressed that since the beginning of this year, the business circles of the two countries have highly benefited from Turkey's resilient and Vietnam's stable economic growths.
He also urged the countries to engage in more business to increase mutual understanding of business and the investment environment in the other country.
TRADE VOLUME REACHES $1.9B
Trade volume between Turkey and Vietnam reached $1.9 billion last year. Turkey exported goods worth $235 million to Vietnam in 2016, and imported products worth $1.73 billion. In the last decade, Turkey's exports to the country stood at $1.4 billion, while imports reached $11.3 billion.
Underlining that Turkey became a sectoral dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Manila earlier this month, Tuan said, "With this development, a new chapter in Turkey-ASEAN relations has begun. This step will undoubtedly deepen politics, trade and tourism relations as well as in other areas between Turkey and the ASEAN member nations."
"The relationship between Turkey and Vietnam will, of course, benefit from this even closer cooperation between Turkey and ASEAN. Turkey is a gateway to Europe for Asian countries, including Vietnam. Vietnam could also serve as an important hub for Turkey to reach other Southeast Asian countries," Tuan added.
Evaluating Prime Minister Yıldırım's visit to his country, Tuan said Yıldırım's visit to Vietnam will be an important milestone for the relations between the two countries as it will be Turkey's first prime ministerial level visit to the country.
"High-level visits between the two countries are an important impetus for bilateral relations between Turkey and Vietnam to continue growing strongly in politics, economy, culture and other areas. Mr. Prime Minister's visit will create many opportunities for our governments, business circles, and people so they can continue to increase business partnerships. Vietnam will continue to work with Turkey to further strengthen our 40-year-long friendship and take our bilateral relations to the next level," Ambassador Tuan said.