Celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Vietnam and Kuwait have agreed to increase their cooperation in trade and investment, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
The diplomatic relationship between the State of Kuwait and Vietnam was officially established on January 10, 1976.
According to a statement given by Kuwaiti Consul General Khaled Falah Kh. A. Almutiri, the relationship is growing exponentially, with bilateral trade between the two countries dramatically surging to US$3.5 billion in 2019 from $350 million in 2017.
Even under the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected that their bilateral trade value would reach about $3 billion in 2020.
A prime example of successful cooperation between the two countries is the $10 billion Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Vietnam's Thanh Hoa Province, which officially entered into full operation in the middle of November 2018.
Kuwait Petroleum International Company holds a 35.1 percent stake in the project and is the sole crude oil supplier for its production activities.
Nghi Son is Kuwait’s largest oil refinery project and the country’s only one in Asia.
It is able to process 10 million tons of oil per year, meeting about 40 percent of total local demand for petroleum and contributing to energy security and the development of the oil refining industry in Vietnam.
The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait Petroleum International also have plans to involve themselves in the second phase of the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Project and the Crude Oil Terminal, located in the Nghi Son Economic Zone in Thanh Hoa.
“Kuwait always considers Vietnam as one of its most important and strategic partners in the Asia-Pacific region," Kuwaiti Consul General Almutiri said in the statement commemorating the anniversary.
"From the bottom of my heart, I believe that the year 2021 will be an important milestone in promoting the friendship between our two countries.”
The Kuwaiti diplomat also shared a belief that the two countries have achieved considerable progress in labor export cooperation.
The number of Vietnamese laborers in Kuwait has increased more than 10 times, from 121 in 2017 to 1,300 by the end of 2019, working in different fields such as construction, oil and gas, and domestic services.
The demand for foreign workers in Kuwait is rather high but has been limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, Kuwait has plans to reopen its labor market to Vietnamese citizens once the pandemic is under control.
Through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Kuwait has continuously provided preferential loans for different infrastructure development projects in Vietnam.
So far, KFAED has provided preferential loans for 16 projects in the Southeast Asian nation with a total capital of about $190 million.
Kuwait has also regularly offered humanitarian aid to address the consequences of natural disasters in Vietnam each year.
In the education and training sector, Kuwait grants annual scholarships to Vietnamese students hoping to study Arabic at the Kuwait University, as well as other educational activities in Ho Chi Minh City.
The number of tourists from Kuwait to Vietnam rose to 1,080 in 2019 from 550 in 2017.
Kuwait was one of the first countries in the Middle East and the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam following the latter’s reunification in 1975.
During the last 45 years, the bilateral relationship has been consecutively consolidated on the basis of friendship, mutual respect, and understanding, as well as the solidarity between the peoples of the two countries.