----CE exclusive interview with Nguyen Minh Vu, Minister Counsellor of Vietnam Embassy in China
By Li Hongmei
"Vietnam and China remain close neighbors, friends, comrades and partners, and both sides have reached the consensus that the two nations' ongoing efforts to reform and open up require a peaceful and stable environment," said Nguyen Minh Vu, Minister Counsellor of Vietnam Embassy in China, when receiving an exclusive interview from China Economic Net (ce.cn) on June 6 (Thursday).
"With the steady economic and trade cooperation, exchange of visits from both leaderships and people-to-people communication from both sides, Vietnam-China relationship has been progressing in a comprehensive and in-depth way. And both countries have been endeavoring to enhance coordination and cooperation in both politics and trade and economics," Mr. Nguyen was cited as saying during the interview.
China and Vietnam have many things in common in geographic location and even in some cultural aspects.
At present, China is Vietnam's major export market of rice, coal, and natural rubber. Vietnam, on the other hand, imports machinery and equipment, textile raw materials, construction materials, home appliances and agricultural products from China.
In recent years, China's import from Vietnam has increased rapidly. In the first half of2012, China's import from Vietnam increased 58.6 percent year-on-year. And the two countries are working closely to realize the trade target of US$60 billion by 2015.
Admittedly, economic-trade relations between China and Vietnam have developed vigorously. Since 2004, China has maintained its position as Vietnam's largest trade partner with an annual two-way trade growth of over 20 percent in the last three years.
Still, Vietnam's trade deficit with China has increased, resulting in an imbalance in bilateral trade, Mr. Nguyen said.
It is believed that Vietnam's trade deficit with its partners has grown rapidly since the country's admission to the WTO in 2007 due to weaknesses in Vietnam's trade and production structures - especially support industries.
To reduce this, the two countries should draw up strategies calling for long-term and selective investment from large Chinese businesses in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen suggested.
Vietnam Customs reported that in the first half of 2012, two-way trade between Vietnam and China exceeded US$19 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21.76 percent. Of which, Vietnam's trade deficit with China was over US$6.8 billion, up 5.56 percent.
China now has 866 valid projects in Vietnam with a total registered investment of US$4.52 billion, of which US$1.8 billion has been disbursed.
The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) that came into effect in 2010, links China with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei aims to further boost trade of semi-finished goods and raw materials around the region.
Plans to expand of ACFTA in 2015 will include Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Hopefully, the two countries will further step up exchanges and cooperation in order to boost their all-round strategic cooperative partnership by the time.