Interview Ambassadors

Interview with the Vietnamese Ambassador to China, H.E. Dang Minh Khoi

His Excellency Dang Minh Khoi, Ambassador of Vietnam to China, at his interview with Dr. Wei Li, Founder of Cipher Ground. 

Yi Qin/Picture

TRANSCRIPT

https://youtu.be/RUEgcQCzTbU

WEI LI, HOST:

Hello Ambassador, I am very glad to have the opportunity to interview you! I am Dr. Wei Li.

Congratulations on Vietnam’s 7.08% GDP growth in 2018. Vietnam has actively participated in international cooperation and has played an important role in regional and international affairs.

In the past year, we have seen that Vietnam’s proactive integration into international foreign policy, which has achieved important results. In particular, in September 2018, Vietnam successfully hosted the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 and promoted the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Also, Vietnam actively promoted the signing of the EU and Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and more.

In 2018, foreign investment in Vietnam is soaring. How do you evaluate the trade and investment situation in Vietnam?

Ambassador Dang:

First of all, I am very grateful to you. You just said something about Vietnam’s major achievements in economic and social development in the past year. In fact, after listening to what you said, I believe that you know Vietnam very well and see Vietnam’s future as a growing economy.

In fact, the economic and social development of Vietnam in 2018 have made some achievements, the main ones you have summarized.

First, our GDP growth is the highest in 10 years. This is not easy, because we all know that there have been many changes in the world economy in recent times, and there are many challenges. The business environment has also changed a lot. But we were able to maintain such high economic growth due to the efforts of our entire party and the people of the whole country.

On the other hand, one of the highlights of our economic development is economic and trade cooperation, the cooperation with foreign countries. The integration of the international economy you just mentioned is very important.

Last year, our total import and export volume has exceeded 490 billion US dollars, doubled our GDP. Among them, bilateral trade with China has reached 150 billion US dollars, close to 25% of our entire import and export trade, which is very objective.

Foreign investment in Vietnam has increased by about 12.2%, which is pretty good. We still maintained relatively strong growth on foreign investment while China was attracting most of the foreign investment in the world.

Why did Vietnam achieve this success last year?

First of all, I believe that we attach great importance to the system of the world economy. We believe that the current economic system is shared by all countries. Because it is in line with the economic development of the respective countries, it is also conducive to expanding cooperation among countries.

In this regard, although there are some voices to protect trade now, some countries have adopted trade...

LI: Trade protectionism.

Ambassador: ...by adding some obstacles, such as tariffs. But we are very convinced that this WTO system and open international economic and trade cooperation are also very important.

That is why we are very active and integrated with the international community, and we work hard and participate actively in the negotiations of many multilateral trading mechanisms. I believe that Vietnam’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Economic Cooperation mechanism, which came into force last year, was passed by a full vote in our Congress.

LI: Great!

Ambassador: On the other hand, we attach great importance to discussing with other ASEAN countries, China, South Korea and Japan how to establish a free trade zone in East Asia at an early date. If this success comes into effect, it will provide great opportunities for our 13 countries.

In addition, we also attach great importance to the cooperation of bilateral trade, such as the cooperation with China, because China has been Vietnam’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years. In the past 3 years in the ASEAN countries, Vietnam is China’s largest trading partner and the 8th largest in the world.

Regarding investment, China’s investment in Vietnam continues to climb. China’s investment in Vietnam accounted as the top 13 or 14 countries in the first three years, it was the 7th country last year with many large private companies looking for opportunities to invest.

This depends on the leadership of our two parties and two governments. They are very concerned and directly promoted. In recent years, our bilateral high-level leaders have exchanged visits very frequently. In addition to discussing bilateral political relations and strengthening our political mutual trust, they have also allocated a lot of time to talk about how to expand our pragmatic cooperation.

Last year, our Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Shanghai to attend the first China...

LI: International Import Expo.

Ambassador: International Import Expo. He also had very important talks with General Secretary and the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Prior to this, last year our Prime Minister met with the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang twice in Phnom Penh and in Belgium. Their main content of the talks focused on how to expand our bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

This is the Vietnamese economy I want to add. I think the listeners and readers want to know more about the development of Vietnam.

LI: Ambassador, healthcare is actually a topic of concern to all countries. According to the World Economic Forum, the Vietnamese government’s GDP expenditure in the healthcare sector is lower than the world average of 6%.

However, the Vietnamese government has taken a number of reform measures. For example, the strengthening of international cooperation, the privatization of public hospitals, PPP projects, and the import of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The Vietnamese government has regarded the healthcare sector as one of the national priority industries.

What policy measures does Vietnam have in the healthcare sector to attract foreign investment?

Ambassador: In fact, the Vietnamese government attaches great importance to the development of the healthcare industry. In Vietnam, we follow Vietnamese

(Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: There are two industries that are highly valued by the people and they are called “masters”. The first one is the doctor, which means the physician.

LI: Doctor.

Interpreter: Then there is the teacher, that is, the meaning of teaching.

Ambassador: The history of development in Vietnam has lasted for thousands of years. Both industries have received great attention and their social status is very noble.

In recent years, our healthcare industry has also received continuous attention from the government and has been continuously expanded and developed. Although Vietnam’s total social investment in the healthcare industry is not much, the proportion is quite high, and it also accounts for a high proportion of our country’s budget. Although our healthcare industries and many industries can’t keep up with the world’s advanced level, we are very proud because...

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: Vietnam’s primary healthcare system should be said to have reached the village level, and the level of development is still very good.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: The concept of healthcare in Vietnam begins with disease prevention, starting from the primary level, lets the public know how to prevent, and then carries out early detection and treatment.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: Therefore, Vietnam’s preventive healthcare system is relatively developed.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: This is related to the era when Vietnam had experienced a long war, 9 years against France, and more than 20 years against the United States, so the preventive healthcare system was established in the war.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: General diseases and infectious diseases are well controlled in Vietnam.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: However, with the continuous improvement of people’s lives and their demand for modern healthcare, the level of treatment for refractory and serious diseases in Vietnam needs to be improved.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: So we are now focusing on the development of some leading, central-level hospitals to prevent and treat some diseases like cancer and other tropical diseases.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: The level of our physician team has reached the regional average level.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: But we have two aspects so far that the level of development has not kept up with the regional average. The first is the production and research and development of medical equipment or device and then the development of pharmaceuticals.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: In recent years, our main focus is on the import of modern medical device equipment, and then training the medical team to carry out some difficult operations independently, including human internal organs transplantation.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: However, because there is now a certain distance between the central and priority hospitals and the level of ordinary hospitals...

Ambassador: Actually great distance.

Interpreter: Great distance. Many people have rushed to central hospitals to see a doctor, so overcrowding is a phenomenon.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: Our government is also now advocating the attraction of more private and foreign funds so that the level of hospital development can be balanced.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: But because healthcare is a relatively special sector, foreign investment in this area is not much.

Ambassador: (Speaking Vietnamese)

Interpreter: Therefore, we very much welcome foreign investors, including China, to invest in Vietnam in this regard.

LI: Thank you, Ambassador!

 www.cipherground.org

John Wilson, Nasser Hassan and Joseph DiLustro edited

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