“It will be an opportunity to discuss innovative and creative ideas and strengthen regional economic relations with ASEAN,” Dissanayake said addressing diplomats in Colombo at an event to mark the national day of Vietnam which falls today.Sri Lanka had established diplomatic relation with Vietnam in 1970.
Vietnam’s Ambassador to Colombo - Madam Pham Thi Bich Ngoc said there was an opportunity to elevate bilateral relations to a higher level and corporation in regional and international platforms for peace and stability. Last week Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was in Hanoi to address a maritime forum, Indian Ocean Conference 2018. Minister Dissanayake said the successful completion of political consultation in February 2018 acted as a catalyst for future enhancement of relations. “The bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Vietnam are multifaceted and encompass the economy, agriculture, fisheries and education,” he said.
He said Sri Lanka had a stable investment environment and Vietnamese firm could look at sectors like tourism. In the first seven months of 2018, Vietnam welcomed 9.08 million tourists, up 25 percent from a year earlier with 1.9 million coming in July alone.Sri Lanka received 2.1 million foreign visitors in the 12-months to December 2017. In 2017 Vietnam received 12.9 million visitors, up 29 percent from a year earlier.
Several Sri Lankan firms had already invested in Vietnam, including in apparel. Vietnam is a chosen destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism with Sri Lankan visitors also increasing to the country Ambassador Ngoc said.Up to August 2018, 13.4 billion US dollars of new FDI projects had been signed with Japan accounting for 5.8 billion dollars and Korea 5.8 billion dollars. Existing companies had applied to invest a further 5.5 billion dollars totaling 19.0 billion dollars.Realised investments up to August 20, was 11.25 billion US dollars, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier.
In 2017, foreign companies applied to invest 29.5 billion US dollars in Vietnam and realized inflows were 17.5 billion US dollars. Up to August exports grew 14.5 percent to 155.4 billion US dollars and imports grew 11.5 percent to 152.6 billion US dollars. In 2017 exports grew 21 percent to 213 billion US dollars. Vietnam has a population of 93.7 million people.