Dmitry Semenovich, Charge d'Affaires of the Republic of Belarus, talks with Viet Nam News on the occasion of Belarusian Independence Day, on July 3.
How do you evaluate bilateral relations?
Viet Nam is a strategic partner for Belarus in Southeast Asia. We note with satisfaction that relations are developing dynamically and a regular dialogue is maintained at the highest level.
A recent event of significance was the visit by President Nguyen Minh Triet to Belarus from May 13-15. The two presidents confirmed their policy of consistently strengthening relations.
Recently, many visits have been made by official delegations from both countries. Later this year, we plan to organise a visit of the Chairman of the Belarus House of Representative, Vladimir Andreichenko, to Viet Nam.
And a delegation from Minsk City Executive Committee intends to take part in the celebration of 1,000 years of Ha Noi later this year. We also expect to send many delegations from Belarusian ministries, agencies and regions.
An important part of co-operation is to intensify trade and economic contacts. The volume of trade between Belarus and Viet Nam in the last four years has increased threefold. However, this does not reflect the true potential.
During the visit of the President of Viet Nam to Belarus, both sides said there were real hopes for a substantial increase in turnover in the next few years. The two presidents agreed on a programme for economic co-operation for the next two years.
The eighth meeting of the Belarusian-Vietnamese Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Co-operation will be held soon in Minsk. The potential for development is exemplified by the establishment of joint ventures and assembly plants. For example, the assembly of Belarusian trucks in Viet Nam is developing.
Next will be the assembly of Belarusian engines, joint dairy ventures and the production of fertilizers. And good prospects are visible in oil and gas and mining. Belarusian specialists are also preparing to help design and build subways in Ha Noi and HCM City.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai visited Belarus in October last year, where he and his Belarusian counterparts agreed to enhance co-operation in science, technology and training. Can you outline developments?
Belarus at a glance
Population: about 9.5 million
Language: Belarusian, Russian
Currency: Belarusian ruble (BYR)
We should note the well developed legal framework that has been established and signed on these issues between our countries. A regular exchange of delegations is also being made by scientific organisations.
In the near future, an agreement on the exchange of scientists between the National Academy of Science of Belarus and the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology will be signed.
At present, more than 20 joint scientific and technological research projects are being carried out and there are plans for holding a competition between scientific projects next year.
The seventh meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Scientific and Technical Co-operation will be held in Ha Noi in September. During the meeting the implementation of innovative joint projects will be considered, including nuclear power.
A delegation from the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology visited Belarus in May and signed an agreement on co-operation between the Vietnamese Hoa Lac High Tech Park and the Belarusian High Tech Park. Late this year, the director of the Belarusian Park plans to return to Hoa Lac for further discussions.
In the field of education, we plan to intensify co-operation on exchange of students, lecturers, and scientists.
In which sectors would you encourage Vietnamese investors to do business in your country? What favourable conditions has the Belarusian Government created for foreign investors?
Vietnamese companies have shown significant interest in Belarus. The first foreign company with 100 per cent of Vietnamese capital, Hapako, was registered in Belarus in 2009. Its main job is to organize deliveries of goods between the two markets.
Vietnamese companies are now planning to build high class hotels, shopping centers and restaurants in Minsk. Other promising areas are the creation of joint ventures to finish processing of high-quality Vietnamese goods, including seafood and tropical fruits.
Belarus is situated in the heart of Europe between the EU and the Russian Federation. Almost all trade and traffic flows between Europe and Asia pass through Belarus.
Positive factors for investing in Belarus include economic and social stability and free access to markets in Russia and CIS countries. For investors, Belarus guarantees to protect property rights and free disposal of profits.
An important consideration for investors is the numerous tax breaks and customs privileges, six free economic zones and high tech parks.
What about culture?
Cultural co-operation is a priority. I note with pride that last year Viet Nam presented Green Bamboo at the Slavianski Bazaar in Belarus. And for several years, Vietnamese film makers have participated in the Belarusian film festival.
At present, we, together with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, are working on holding Cultural Days of the Republic of Belarus in Viet Nam and Cultural Days of Viet Nam in Belarus.
In 2011, we plan to invite Vietnamese creative teams to participate in the International Festival of Choreographic Art and the International festival for Young Talent. An exhibition of Vietnamese art and folk art is also being prepared. - VNS