Ho Chi Minh's Trail stretches: Vietnam's Diplomacy

Vietnam moves in the world between old allies and the General Assembly. At the heart of Hanoi's actions is the accumulation of vaccine stocks and the strengthening of old and new partnerships in terms of cooperation, health, security and economic growth.

Southeast Asia is experiencing a further wave of infections and a severe shortage of vaccine stocks, as well as being crossed by the general fibrillation triggered by the AUKUS storm. At the center is Vietnam which is proving to be among the most active in the search for serums, in the consolidation of old relationships on a regional and global scale as well as in the push towards economic recovery.

The last few weeks have been lived at a fast pace by the representatives of the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government, especially by the Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, the President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The Vietnamese leadership still takes into account the ideological assonance to guide the country's relations with the outside world. Trong had a long telephone conversation with Xi Jinping, in which he called for fairer trade relations, but also a rebalancing in other areas, especially in the management of border areas so as not to slow down the flow of people, as in the control of the pandemic to contain the increase in infections and in maritime cooperation. Trong also expressed his intention to maintain closer interministerial relations between the two countries in order to foster an environment increasingly capable of supporting synergistic economic development.

Still on the red path, President Phuc's expedition to Cuba and Foreign Minister Son's visit to Moscow gave a further demonstration of how the non-Western world is capable of moving autonomously in diplomatic and biotechnological terms. Ideological solidarity in the Cuban case and post-ideological in the Russian case, is the fil rouge that guides the Vietnamese external moves, which before relating to the rest of the international community continues to move in a well-kept socialist and post-socialist garden.

The vaccination diplomacy implemented by Russia has allowed Vabiotech laboratories to produce in Vietnam some doses of Sputnik V serum, which will then be evaluated by Russian research institutes. Relations between Vietnam and the Russian Federation currently pursue two objectives: to install vaccination production in the Vietnamese borders in order to have an extra asset in the fight against the pandemic and to grant an access into the Russian market to the Vietnamese agricultural products (bilateral trade increased by 12.5% in the first half of 2021). What Russia is asking for in return is cooperation and support in international forums, especially in ASEAN.

Immediately outside this close and vital diplomatic network, Vietnam finds itself more than ever in need to deal with powers of various kinds: Australia, which recently entered AUKUS, is one of these. Vietnam is on good terms with Canberra, with which it conducts annual maritime exercises within the Indo-Pacific Endeavours, begun in 2016 on the initiative of the Australian Ministry of Defence. The navies of the two countries have been exchanging practices and knowledge in many areas of intervention for five years. The strategic-military partnership between Vietnam and Australia is a solid pillar for Vietnamese political balancing.

Then, there is the European Union with its regional entities, especially the French-speaking Belgian one that is very deeply immersed in the Vietnamese context, in a win-win relationship based on cooperation and development. Very active for about fifty years, the French-speaking Belgian community has carried out a total of 783 projects in the biotechnological, medical, environmental, educational and cultural sectors. The mutual benefit lies in the enhancement of Vietnamese technological development and in the possibility for Belgians to invest directly in the country through the Walloon Export and Foreign Investment Agency, in agreement with the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment. Relations between the European bloc and Hanoi have flourished in recent times, as shown by the free trade agreement with the European Union of August 2020 that fits perfectly with the Vietnamese development and growth priorities of the 2021-2025 five-year plan. Vietnam's multilateralism is working: constant donations through Covax in several tranches have brought more than nine million doses from the EU, mainly from France and Italy, as well as medical equipment. To date, keeping on with the good old relations with the socialist and post-socialist field without cutting off from the rest of the world has allowed Vietnam to receive more than 54 million doses via Covax.

Following this renewed international momentum, the government delegates clearly show a new assertiveness and confidence even in the headquarters of the world forum: at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, President Phuc spoke on behalf of that part of the world that hasn’t been reached sufficiently by the allocation of serums and that hasn’t been vaccinated enough.

Hanoi has definitively stretched the Ho Chi Minh Trail thanks to which Vietnam lends itself to being an increasingly important pivot at the regional level, especially after the outcomes of Doi Moi ("renewal", a process started in 1986 and similar to Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening program) and showing itself inclined to contribute to the balance of East Asia in times of great turmoil.

Eni confirms the potential of its investments in Vietnam

Eni informs that the Ken Bau- 2X exploration well, located in Block 114 in the Song Hong basin, offshore Vietnam, has accumulated significant hydrocarbon, increasing its potential. 

Ken Bau 2X was drilled 2km from the discovery well, in 95m of water reaching a depth of 3658m below sea level. The well encountered gas and condensate mineralization over a total thickness of over 110m in various ranges of Miocenic sandstone interspersed with clay. 

The well was the subject of an intensive data acquisition campaign including sampling of fluids in the various levels found to be mineralized. The well will now be abandoned minerally. 

Preliminary accumulation estimates after the data acquired on Ken Bau 2X indicate a discovery of about 200 to 250 billion m3 of raw gas in place with 400 to 500 million barrels of associated condensate. 

The results of Ken Bau 2X confirm the importance of the discovery made in 2019 and the commitment of Eni Vietnam and its partner Essar E&P to quickly delineate its potential, despite the fact that the operations were conducted in a particularly challenging period due to the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Eni Vietnam is the operator of Block 114 with 50% participation interest; Essar E&P holds the remaining 50%. On the basis of these results, Eni Vietnam and its partner are planning a further well in Ken Bau and in the same Song Hong Basin, where Eni operates with 100% interest the nearby Block 116, a new prospecting and drilling activity. 

The gas market in Vietnam is growing rapidly, in response to the steady progress of the national GDP and the consequent development of gas-fired power generation plants powered by domestic resources and, in the future, by imported LNG. Ken Bau's discovery represents an opportunity to quickly address this emerging demand. 

Eni has been present in Vietnam since 2013 and operates 4 blocks located in the under-explored reservoirs of Song Hong and Phu Khan, in the offshore part of Central Vietnam. 

ENI press release 

Il Parlamento europeo ratifica gli accordi col Vietnam

L’accordo di libero scambio eliminerà il 99 per cento delle barriere doganali tra EU e Vietnam

Il 12 febbraio 2020, il Parlamento europeo ha ratificato l’Accordo di libero scambio (EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, EVFTA) e l’Accordo sulla protezione degli investimenti (Investment Protection Agreement, EVIPA) tra l’Unione europea e il Vietnam.

La ratifica definitiva dell’EVFTA da parte del Consiglio europeo e del Parlamento vietnamita è prevista entro l’estate 2020 mentre bisognerà attendere la ratifica di tutti i 27 paesi UE per l’entrata in vigore dell’EVIPA.

L’accordo di libero scambio eliminerà il 99 per cento delle barriere doganali tra EU e Vietnam, stimolando il commercio in particolar modo nel settore tessile, agroalimentare e manifatturiero. Sono inoltre previste agevolazioni fiscali nei settori dei servizi e degli appalti pubblici nonché capitoli in materia di proprietà intellettuale, protezione dei diritti umani e salvaguardia ambientale.

La Commissione Europea stima che l’accordo di libero scambio incrementerà il PIL dell’Ue di 29,5 miliardi di dollari e le esportazioni verso il Vietnam del 29% entro il 2035. Il governo vietnamita stima invece una crescita del PIL nazionale del 4,6% e delle esportazioni verso l’UE del 42,7% entro il 2025.

Enrico Letta, Presidente dell’Associazione Italia-ASEAN accoglie la ratifica come “un’ottima notizia per l’industria italiana, che trova un canale di accesso preferenziale ad una delle regioni più dinamiche e più in forte crescita del mondo. Il Vietnam è il nostro secondo partner commerciale in ASEAN dopo Singapore ed è già oggi la quinta potenza economica globale e le proiezioni indicano chiaramente che entro il 2050 raggiungerà il quarto posto, dietro solamente a Cina, India e Stati Uniti

Alessia Mosca, ex portavoce del gruppo S&D in Parlamento Europeo per gli accordi con il Vietnam e attuale Segretario Generale dell’Associazione Italia-ASEAN sottolinea come “il Vietnam è al momento il Paese ASEAN più interessante per le imprese italiane, che lì trovano un tessuto di PMI capace di dialogare con le nostre aziende e un settore industriali dinamico e aperto all’innovazione. Negli ultimi anni, l’Italia ha consolidato la propria presenza in Vietnam: nel 2019, il nostro Paese è stato il secondo fornitore europeo del Vietnam, dietro solamente alla Germania”

L’economia vietnamita cresce a tassi medi del 6% mentre nei prossimi 30 anni è prevista una crescita del 5%. Il tessuto produttivo è composto per il 96% da PMI intenzionate ad inserirsi in global value chains.

Le riforme attuate negli ultimi anni soprattutto in materia di accesso al credito e managing delle operazioni quotidiane hanno permesso al paese di aumentare il FDI del 7,4% secondo fonti della Banca Mondiale, che lo ha classificato 70esimo su 190 paesi in termini di facilità di condurre business.

L’export italiano verso il Vietnam ammontava a 1.302,42 mln. € nel 2018, con un forte focus sui settori manifatturiero, tessile ed agroalimentare.

Working Breakfast on Vietnam

After theHigh Level Dialogue in Hanoi, a working breakfast takes stock of relations between Italy and Vietnam.

On 12th September 2019, the Italy-ASEAN Association held a working Breakfast in its office in Milan Milan, focused on relations between Italy and Vietnam. The meeting was held three months after the third edition of theHigh Level Dialogue on ASEAN Italy Economic Relations, which this year was held in Hanoi.

The Secretary General of the Association, Alessia Mosca, introduced the working breakfast outlining that it was the first event organized in the new office in Milan.

The speakers of the event were Claudio Dordi (Associate Professor, Bocconi University) and Lorenzo Tavazzi (Head of Scenario & Intelligence department, The European House -Ambrosetti).

In his speech, Claudio Dordi presented the main data on the economy of Vietnam, highlighting margins of growth and criticality.

Lorenzo Tavazzi presented the main results of theHigh Level Dialogue in Hanoi, which was the biggest event ever organized by Italy in Vietnam. Tavazzi also announced that the fourth edition of the High Level Dialogue will be held in Kuala Lumpur.High Level Dialogue si terrà a Kuala Lumpur.