The Vietnamese Government will create the best possible conditions for Qatari investors to do long-term business successfully in the country, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

While addressing a business forum attended by 300 Vietnamese and Qatari enterprises in Doha on March 8, Mr Dung expressed his pleasure at the fruitful cooperation between the two countries, especially in economics, trade, investment, finance, oil and gas, labour and aviation. He noted that last year’s two-way trade reached US$80 million, a twofold increase over 2007.

Qatar is also one of Vietnam’s large labour market in the Gulf region. The two countries have established a joint investment fund and are negotiating several big investment projects such as a hi-tech zone in Khanh Hoa province.

However, he said, bilateral cooperation in economics, trade and investment remains modest, which has not yet matched their potential. He told the participants that the signing of important agreements during his visit will offer an opportunity for the two business communities.

He called on Qatari businesses to invest in Vietnam’s potential areas such as real estate, infrastructure construction, residential areas, expressways, airports, seaports, oil and gas, tourism, agriculture, financial and banking services as well as labour.

In the face of regional and international instability, increasing economic cooperation will create big opportunities for development cooperation between Vietnam and Qatar as well as their business communities, said Mr Dung.

Mohamed Bin Towar Al Kuwari, an official from the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the presence of 300 Vietnamese and Qatari businesses showed their keen interest in establishing long-term partnerships. He called on businesses to work on joint venture projects in their respective countries based on their strengths.

After the forum, Mr Dung witnessed the signing of a number of investment agreements worth hundreds of millions of US dollars between the two countries’ businesses.

They included a US$500 million deal to build a seaport and a logistic centre in Hai Phong port city by the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinaline), the Hai Phong Economic Zone Management Board and the Restaport Group, a deal to build a petrochemical refinery in the Middle East between the Vietnam Machinery Erection Corporation (Lilama) and Technip Group, and a deal on online money transfer between the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) and Dohabank.

During a meeting with Asian ambassadors to Qatar the same day, Mr Dung confirmed that Vietnam has attached great importance to relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries around the world. He said Vietnam has played its active role at the United Nations Security Council and made significant and responsible contributions to settling big international issues.

He went on to say that the cooperative relationship between Vietnam and other countries, especially neighbouring ASEAN and Asian countries, has developed well. Vietnam has also played its active role in drafting and ratifying the ASEAN Charter to elevate ASEAN’s role in the region and the world.

He confirmed that Vietnam is ready to assume the chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee in 2009.

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