SA, Vietnam tighten relations

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa and Vietnam have agreed to beef up their relations and comprehensive cooperation, especially on politics, economy, science, technology, culture, and education.

After their talks on Wednesday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and visiting counterpart Nguyen Thi Doan agreed to seek measures to boost their cooperation in all fields, and emphasised there was vast potential to expand trade and investment between the two countries.

They also committed to increasing the volumes of trade to reach a target of $1 billion over the next few years.

Although no details were given, Motlanthe told the joint media briefing that details of achieving this goal will be mapped out by the South Africa Vietnam Partnership Forum, which is scheduled to meet later this year.

The two officials, however, did indicate that it will be done by creating awareness among South African and Vietnamese business communities regarding the business opportunities that exist in both countries.

"Both South Africa and Vietnam offer excellent opportunities to investors and we should encourage our business communities to link up and explore all possible avenues for cooperation," said Motlanthe.

He said there where were countless opportunities in many areas such as tourist agriculture clothing and textile production.

Speaking through an interpreter, Nguyen congratulated South Africa in its re-election as a non-permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2011/12 and its joining of BRICS, saying its was a "good sign that South Africa deserves to be the motto of development in the continent."

Describing the talks as fruitful, Nguyen also hoped the outcome of their talks would manifest in deepened bilateral co-operation for prosperity and development of both countries.

The troubling issue of illegal trading of rhino horns also made it to the discussions.

The two countries first engaged in ways to save the rhino last year when they looked at collaborative law enforcement and co-operation to prevent animal trafficking, including the protection of endangered species.

Vietnam has been increasingly implicated as a main driver of the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia, and a major trade route has emerged, connecting illegally killed rhinos in South Africa with consumers in Vietnam.

Motlanthe said relevant ministries would develop a work plan to illegal trading of rhinos.

Vietnam is a developing market economy, and the country continues to achieve rapid growth in agriculture and industrial production, construction and housing.

This is a second such meeting between Motlanthe and Nguyen, with the first being held in Vietnam last year.

Motlanthe described the relationship between the two countries as one that has "grown, deepened and matured over the years."

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