Kathmandu, May 11
Nepal and Vietnam have signed an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders.
The two countries have also signed a memorandum of understanding on establishment of bilateral consultation mechanism between the two ministries of foreign affairs and a letter of intent on negotiating and signing the framework agreement on trade and investment cooperation, reads a 16-point joint statement issued today after Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Vietnam.
According to the joint statement, both sides underlined the need for establishing direct air service between the two countries and instructed the concerned ministries to consider an agreement on air services at the earliest to promote trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
The Vietnamese side expressed its support to Visit Nepal Year 2020 saying it would send more tourists to Nepal, including Buddhist pilgrims to Lumbini.
PM Oli and his Vietnamese counterpart discussed all aspects of bilateral relations, and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
According to the joint statement, PM Oli expressed his admiration for Ho Chi Minh and congratulated Vietnam on its tremendous achievements in socio-economic development.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his gratitude to PM Oli for having chosen Vietnam as his first destination in Southeast Asia since he took office in February 2018, underlining that the first visit of a Nepali prime minister to Vietnam would contribute to strengthening the multifaceted relations between the two countries in the coming days.
The Vietnamese PM congratulated the people of Nepal for the historic political achievement and for its unique and homegrown peace process and its institutionalisation through a democratic constitution and the formation of a stable government.
He lauded Nepal government’s efforts to bring about visible transformation in the living standard of Nepali people and expressed his best wishes for the realisation of the government’s vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.’ Both leaders underlined cultural and historical similarities between their countries, and recognised the importance of Buddhism as a strong chord that bound the people of the two countries.
The two leaders noted that both Vietnam and Nepal had to undergo various kinds of struggles to protect sovereignty, territorial integrity and national independence.
Both sides welcomed practical commemorative activities to be held in 2020 for the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and shared the view that PM Oli’s visit would pave the way for a new stage and an enhanced level of cooperation in tourism, trade and people to people contacts.
Acknowledging the remarkable progress in bilateral relations on the basis of mutual understanding and trust, the two leaders shared the vision of further widening and deepening Vietnam-Nepal friendship.
Recalling their meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019, the two leaders agreed to enhance mutual visits and exchanges at all levels between their political parties, governments, legislative institutions, local bodies and people.
Both leaders shared the assessment that their bilateral economic and trade cooperation remained far below their potentials and strengths.
They welcomed the renewal of the MoU on cooperation between Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nepal Chamber of Commerce in April 2018, and tasked their authorities concerned with exploring ways to establish bilateral economic and trade cooperation mechanisms, encouraging their businessmen to survey each other’s market and participating in trade promotion activities, particularly in areas such as electric appliances, coffee, tea, seafood, textile and leather footwear.
The two leaders also agreed to explore new areas of cooperation, including energy, renewable energy, high-tech agriculture and tourism.
Both leaders agreed to look into proposals of market access for agricultural products that held competitive edge; encourage information exchange and cooperation in agricultural science and technical research, and promote exchange of agricultural experts.
Recognising the desire of Nepal to graduate from least developed country status at an early date, the Vietnamese side welcomed further imports of Nepali products to Vietnam’s market and agreed to encourage Vietnamese investors and entrepreneurs to invest in productive sectors in Nepal.
Likewise, both sides agreed to exchange experience of law enforcement, information on criminals and consider negotiation and signing of agreements in order to create legal framework for their cooperation in combating crimes, and for criminal justice, with immediate priority given to the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam and the Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal on preventing crime and combating it.
A version of this article appears in print on May 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.