South Africa and Vietnam have agreed to beef up cooperation between the two countries following a meeting in Pretoria between Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Vietnamese Vice-President Nguyen Thi Doan.
During their meeting on Thursday, the two deputy presidents agreed to seek measures to boost cooperation, saying there was vast potential to expand trade and investment between the two countries.
They also committed to increasing trade volumes, targeting US$1-billion over the next few years.
Although no details were given, Motlanthe told a joint media briefing that details of achieving this goal would be mapped out by the South Africa Vietnam Partnership Forum, which is scheduled to meet later this year.
The two deputy presidents did, however, stress the importance of creating awareness among South African and Vietnamese business communities regarding the business opportunities that exist in both countries.
“Both South Africa and Vietnam offer excellent opportunities to investors, and we should encourage our business communities to link up and explore all possible avenues for cooperation,” Motlanthe said.
Vietnam is a developing market economy, and the country continues to achieve rapid growth in agriculture and industrial production, construction and housing. Motlanthe said there where were countless opportunities in areas such as tourism, agriculture, clothing and textile production.
Speaking through an interpreter, Nguyen congratulated South Africa on its re-election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2011/12, and for its joining of the BRICS grouping, saying this was a “good sign that South Africa deserves to be the motto of development on the continent.”
Describing the talks as fruitful, Nguyen said he hoped the outcome would manifest in deepened co-operation for the prosperity and development of both countries.
Illegal rhino horn trade
The two deputy presidents also discussed the issue of illegal trading in rhino horns.
The two countries first engaged in ways to save the rhino last year when they looked at collaborative law enforcement and co-operation to prevent animal trafficking.
Vietnam has been increasingly implicated as a main driver of the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia, and a major trade route has emerged, connecting illegally killed rhinos in South Africa with consumers in Vietnam.
Motlanthe said the relevant ministries in both countries would develop a working plan to combat the illegal trade.
This is a second such meeting between Motlanthe and Nguyen, with the first having been held in Vietnam last year.
Motlanthe described the relationship between the two countries as one that has “grown, deepened and matured over the years.”