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Vietnam, Israel declare launch of FTA negotiations

03/12/2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai have officially announced the start of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

The declaration was made during their talks in the capital Tel Aviv on December 2 (local time). Deputy PM Hai is on an official visit to Israel from December 1-3, with the aim of promoting multi-faceted co-operation with the country.

PM Netanyahu praised Vietnam's position in the international arena, as well as its achievements in recent years. He confirmed the wish to promote multifaceted co-operation with Vietnam, especially in areas of strength for Israel such as breeding, post-harvest preservation technology, effective use of water resources, and the transfer of operational models for scientific research, production applications, business operation, climate change response, and other high-tech fields.

For his part, Deputy PM Hai affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to co-operation development with Israel, saying that the two sides should strengthen exchanges of high level delegations, support each other at international forums, and strengthen co-operation in economic development, trade, investment, science and technology, particularly in the fields of agriculture and human resources training.

The two sides agreed to improve the efficiency of economic co-operation, striving to bring bilateral trade turnover to US$2 billion or more in the coming years. The two sides will create optimal conditions for each other's goods, as well as strengthening organisation of trade activities, market research, and business opportunities between the two countries.

The Vietnamese official affirmed Vietnam pledges to create favourable conditions for Israeli companies to seek business and investment opportunities in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of agro-industry, information technology, telecommunications and tourism.

On the occasion, the two sides declared the start of negotiations on the Vietnam-Israel FTA, and assigned relevant authorities to co-ordinate and set a time for the first round of negotiations, which is considered an important precondition to bring relations between the two countries to a higher level.

As part of the talks, PM Netanyahu and Deputy PM Hai witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation between the two foreign ministries.

Vietnam and Israel established diplomatic relations on July 12, 1993. Since then, the two countries have developed relations in various areas, with frequent exchange of diplomatic delegations at all levels and the signing of a range of co-operation agreements in the fields of economics, science, agriculture, trade, tourism, security and defence.

Bilateral trade volume reached over US$1 billion in 2014 with Vietnam exporting nearly US$500 million to Israel - mainly cell phones and electronic components, seafood, coffee, textiles, and footwear - while importing machinery and equipment, hi-tech goods and fertiliser.

Israel currently has 18 FDI projects in Vietnam with total capital of US$39 million, primarily in textiles, chemicals, software and aquaculture.

Source: Nhan Dan