Overview of Vietnam – Norway Relations
1. Political Relation Highlights:
a) Diplomatic Recognition and Presence:
- The two countries established diplomatic relations on November 25, 1971.
- Vietnam opened Embassy in Oslo in 1978, closed in 1982 and reopened on December 23, 2009.
- Norway opened Embassy in Hanoi in 1996.
b) High-level Visits (in chronological order):
- From Vietnam: Prime Minister Pham Van Dong (1977), Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet (1995), Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (1999), State President Nguyen Minh Triet (June 2008), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (May 2019).
- From Norway: Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland (1996), King Harald V and Queen Sonja (2004), Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit (2014), Prime Minister Erna Solberg (April 2015).
c) Periodical Consultations:
- Political consultation at the level of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Human rights dialogue at the level of Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. Commercial Cooperation and and Development Assistance:
a) Trade: Vietnam's statistics show that bilateral two-way trade in 2019 reached more than USD million 571 (in 2018 was USD million 363). Vietnam 's main exports to Norway are seafood, vegetables, textiles, footwear, iron and steel products, wood products ... and its imports are mainly seafood and chemical products, fertilizers, equipment, machinery. Negotiations are underway on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Area (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
b) Investment: by 2019, there were 44 direct investment projects, with a total value of registered capital of over 191 million USD, which placed Norway the 40th biggest investor among 132 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. There are about 40 Norwegian businesses in Vietnam, operating mainly in Ho Chi Minh City and in cities and provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Hanoi, Khanh Hoa, Binh Duong and Hai Phong. Norwegian projects are concentrated in areas of wood processing, construction materials and interior decoration; agriculture, forestry, fisheries, information and communication. In addition, Norway has several equity investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, Vietnam has no investment project in Norway.
c) Development Assistance: Norway's total development aid to Vietnam has reached USD million 320, and Norway is currently one of the largest donors to Vietnam under the UN Program on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation (UN-REDD).
3. Culture, Education and Tourism Exchanges:
a) Cultural exchange: from 2007 to 2015, Norway financed the Transposition Project which helped connect 12 art organizations (theaters, conservatories ...) from both countries, organize concerts, short-term training and study tours for students and artists, and develop library and archival materials, as well as maintain musical instruments in Vietnam.
b) Education and Training : Norway provided scholarships to Vietnamese students under the international student scholarship program, supported capacity building of staffs and researchers of of several Vietnamese academic institutions (Nha Trang University, Agricultural University I, Hanoi University of Technology ...), as well as in the fields of international law.
c) Tourism: since 2005, Vietnam has been implementing visa exemption policy to several countries, and Norwegian passport holders can visit Vietnam for maximum 15 days without a visa. Approximately 20,000 people from Norway travel to Vietnam each year.
4. Effective Bilateral Treaties:
- Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Income Tax Evasion (1995)
- Agreement on Terms of Reference for Development Cooperation (1996)
- Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation (1997)
- Agreement on Air Transport (1997)
- Agreement on the acceptance of the return of vietnamese citizens (2007)