Vietnam Time

4/11/2018 11:02:11 PM

Dutch Ambassador: Vietnamese smiles are always in my heart

(VNF) - "The Vietnamese people’s smile are always in my heart and I feel that Vietnamese people are very friendly though Vietnam is a nation full of self-respect," said Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam, Nienke Trooster.

Over the past 45 years, diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Netherlands have shifted from "development partners" to "trading partners" that focus on promoting trade and investment. Notably, Vietnam and the Netherlands relations have developed into Strategic partnership on Climate Change and Water Management (2010) and the Strategic partnerships on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (2014). On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Netherlands diplomatic relations (April 9th, 1973 - 2018), the VOV correspondent interviewed Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam, Nienke Trooster on the strength and potential cooperation between the two countries.

Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam, Nienke Trooster visits Tam Tao village, Bac Ninh province. (Photo: VOV)

Reporter: Earlier this year, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and representatives of major Dutch businesses paid a visit to Vietnam. Before that, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made an important visit to the Netherlands last year. How do you assess the significance of these visits, especially the developments in the Vietnam-Netherlands relations over the past 45 years?

Nienke Trooster: Senior visits are always important, because these visits give us the opportunity to confirm our bilateral relationship.

Through high-level visits, leaders of the two sides have the opportunity to directly learn about each other's country. Take the visit of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the Netherlands last year for example. PM Phuc made a trip to the Netherlands by helicopter and assessed the effectiveness of water management in the Netherlands.

I think the visit has brought PM Phuc a very good impression of our country and people. On this occasion, Vietnam and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in food safety management. With the visit to Vietnam, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag has the opportunity to learn about barriers to food management and how we can overcome those. A number of agreements have been signed between ministries and enterprises of the two countries.

I would like to emphasise that high-level visits show that not only the governments of the two countries wish to work together, but that the two governments is delighted to see other components of the two countries working together.

R: Vietnam and the Netherlands have identified five priority cooperation areas during the visit of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the Netherlands last year including climate change adaptation and water management; agriculture and food security; energy; marine economy and transportation services; and smart city. What are the two countries doing to promote cooperation in these priority areas?

Nienke Trooster: I would like to emphasise two areas: water management and agriculture. Since we have established two strategic partnerships on climate change adaptation and water management, and sustainable agriculture and food security. These areas also play an important role for both countries as well as global challenges.

Therefore, it's not just about having two countries working together, but through this cooperation we can become an example to other countries. Both are coastal states in strategic locations, and as delta countries, the two both face the challenges of climate change. We are both world-class players in the export of agricultural products, so we are all interested in agriculture. Those things bind us together.

I can cite a number of cooperation projects between the two countries. For example, Mekong Delta Plan, 'Ho Chi Minh City moving towards the sea with climate change adaptation’ development plan. The Netherlands also has many water supply and water management projects in many provinces and cities of Vietnam such as Ben Tre, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Ninh Thuan and Binh Duong provinces.

In the field of agriculture, Dutch experts are assisting Vietnam to develop agriculture to international standards and ensure food security. This is not only important for domestic consumption but also for exports.

R: According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the Netherlands, in the last three years, the Netherlands has continuously risen to become Vietnam's largest importer in the European Union. Vietnam’s exports to the Netherlands have increased steadily from 18 to 25 per cent annually and reached over USD 7 billion last year. It can be said that this is the basis for new platforms cooperation. Could you please tell us about the next priority plans between Vietnam and the Netherlands?

Nienke Trooster: I am very pleased to see the number of trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. the Netherlands is now one of the biggest export markets of Vietnam in Europe. This is a win-win cooperation and we look forward to the future, towards the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement.

We hope the agreement will soon be implemented. Two countries will benefit from this. However, there are still some things to do. We must ensure that the two countries are fully informed about this Agreement and how to profit from it.

In addition, some regulations and procedures have to be adjusted. One of the obstacles to our business is the ambiguity in regulations and procedures in Vietnam. Sometimes the central and local varied again each other. So we hope to be able to work with the Vietnamese government to ensure transparency and consistency in regulations related to the business environment.

R: Vietnam - The Netherlands is preparing to mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. What will the two countries do on this occasion?

Nienke Trooster: The Vietnamese Embassy in the Netherlands will organise some activities on this occasion. Recently, Chairwoman of Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has attended a ceremony marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations held in the Netherlands.

In Hanoi we will also organise some events. We will hold a World Press Photo Exhibition. The photo exhibition will take place on the campus of the University of Fine Arts in June. The exhibition brings the best and most memorable press photographs from around the globe and gives us a glimpse into what happens in the world through the interesting lens of journalists.

Therefore, we are cooperating closely with the Vietnam Journalists Association and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will organise a series of “Dutch Days”, where we will combine efforts to present the Netherlands in the fields of trade and investment, education and culture in several Vietnamese cities.

We are also targeting the general public as this is not just an official celebration between the two states, it is also aimed at the people of the two countries. And the cities we are targeting are Can Tho and Hai Phong.

There are a number of other very important areas that we are working on, such as smart city projects. We are working with Vietnamese experts to consider early completion of projects in key cities that require investment in human capital. These are the areas in the south. This is the focus of cooperation that we would like to see as a demonstration of cooperation between other cities and Vietnamese partners in building a sustainable future.

We have also focused on aviation and maritime transport. Our experts think that Vietnam has great potential. So that would be the mark that we want to show as a model in other Vietnamese cities as we celebrate the 45th anniversary of our relationship.

R: You have lived in Vietnam for a while, could you share the feeling about the country, the people of Vietnam?

Nienke Trooster: Having lived here for more than three years is an enjoyable experience for me. I can tell you that I am very happy to see how this country is developing and how well your country will be over the next three years. I have seen a lot of changes and many multi-storey buildings constructed. And one of our concerns is sustainable development. So I hope that as Vietnam develops further, your country will develop in a sustainable way and of course that is what we want to support Vietnam.

Back to my experience in Vietnam, what I really like about Vietnam are the flowers here. Our country is the land of flowers. This may explain why the Vietnamese people are very friendly, open and easy to approach. The smiles of Vietnamese people are always in my heart. I feel that Vietnamese people are very friendly though Vietnam is a nation full of self-respect and dignity.  

R: What is your message to the Vietnamese people on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations?

Nienke Trooster: I would like to continue to witness long-lasting and positive ties between both our countries. Therefore, I hope the Vietnamese people enjoy a more prosperous and developed life. I hope that Vietnam will make good use of its relations with all its partners to contribute to a sustainable world.

R: Thank you so much.

Translated by Chau Pham  
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