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Source: Government of India

Mr. Vo Tan Thanh, Vice President and Director General of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mrs. Tran Thi Hai Yen, Director of Investment Promotion Centre for Southern Vietnam, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam
Mr. Rudra Chatterjee, Former President, Indian Chamber of Commerce
Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau
Ambassador Pranay Verma
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all I would like to congratulate Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for organising today’s business forum, and providing a useful platform for business entities of both the countries to engage and enhance trade and investment ties. I am glad to know that today’s event is the second business meet out of a series of virtual business engagements planned by our Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City under the guidance of our Embassy in Hanoi.

2. India and Vietnam have historically shared warm and friendly relations based on mutual trust, goodwill and strategic convergence on several global and regional issues. Today, our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership spans a wide-range of collaboration – from political engagement to economic and development partnership, defence and security cooperation, energy cooperation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts. Vietnam is a key pillar of our ‘Act East Policy’ and an important partner in India’s ‘Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI)’, which is based on our shared values and interests in promoting peace, stability and prosperity of our region.

3. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic we have continued to maintain high-level engagements with Vietnam. Hon’ble Vice President Madam Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh visited India in February this year. In April, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke on telephone not only to exchange views on COVID-19 situation but also to discuss the future trajectory of our bilateral relations. Our two Foreign Ministers reviewed the entire gamut of our bilateral relationship during the 17th virtual Joint Commission Meeting held on 25 August 2020. Our leadership has envisioned closer collaboration in the areas of Trade, Tourism and Technology.

4. From a meagre bilateral trade figure of US$ 200 million in the year 2000, trade between India and Vietnam has grown steadily and presently stands at US$ 12.34 billion in FY 2019-20. For India, Vietnam is the 18th largest trading partner globally and within ASEAN, the 4th largest trading partner after Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. India is the 7th largest trading partner of Vietnam. Our export basket from India to Vietnam includes bovine meat, fishery products, corn, steel, pharmaceuticals, cotton, machinery while our imports from Vietnam include mobile phones, electrical machinery and equipment, computers, electronic hardware, natural rubber, chemicals, coffee etc.

5. As of June 2020, India has about 278 projects in Vietnam with total invested capital of US$ 887 million, as per Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency. Our investments are in the sectors of energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar, tea, coffee manufacturing, agrochemicals, IT and auto-components. Vietnamese investments in India is to the tune of US$ 28.55 million primarily in areas of pharmaceuticals, IT, chemicals and construction materials.

6. Our bilateral trade turnover is still not commensurate with the levels of our economic development. And therefore, we need to do more to broaden and intensify our trade relations to achieve its full potential. I am aware that before the COVID crisis, there used to be large and multiple business delegations led by our leading business chambers and promotion councils visiting Vietnam to attend seminars, workshops and international exhibitions. I hope that once the Covid pandemic situation subsides, both sides will have more frequent physical exchanges apart from continuing the virtual mode of interaction.

7. The COVID pandemic, as we all know, has affected the global economy and India and Vietnam are no exceptions. Its impact has led to realignment of interests and opportunities in trade and commerce between the two countries. The pandemic has also taught us to build secure and reliable supply chains that can withstand any such future disruptions.

8. It is true that the virtual mode of exchange and interaction will continue to be the main format for some time. It is the new ‘normal’ which both sides have to adopt and utilize to expand our cooperation not only in business and trade but in other areas as well. I am glad to note that in the upcoming days our Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City plans to conduct business webinars and online B2B meets to interlink the business associations and entities for exploring opportunities for greater cooperation. I am confident that these efforts would lead to new collaborations in areas such as Engineering, Automobiles, Plastic raw materials, Agro-processing, IT and Tourism.

9. India’s vibrant democracy and conducive “Ease of Doing Business” environment makes it an attractive investment destination. India has risen from rank 81 to 48 in the Global Innovation Index rankings in the last 5 years. India has risen from rank 142 to 63 in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” rankings in the last 5 years. India received around US$ 70 billion from Institutional Investors in a year and a half between January 2019 to July 2020. This is almost equal to that received in four years between 2013 and 2017. The continuing confidence of global investor community in India is evident by the fact that FDI into India went up by 20% in 2019 and, this when global FDI inflows fell by 1%.

10. Government schemes to encourage investments in sectors like in Pharma, Medical Devices and Electronics Manufacturing have already been in operation. For this, a dedicated Empowered Group of Secretaries has been made. We want to ensure high-level attention and effective hand-holding for investors.

11. In shaping the response to COVID-19, Prime Minister Modi has the vision of a “self-reliant India” – Aatma Nirbhar Bharat as it is called

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