On the afternoon of March 11st 2022, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, Minister Ho Duc Phoc had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Saud F.M. Al Suwelim - Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Viet Nam. Also attending the meeting were leaders of a number of relevant departments under the Ministry of Finance.
At the meeting, sharing about Viet Nam's economic situation, Minister Ho Duc Phoc said: In 2021, although the COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges, thanks to the initiative in policy advice, the income still exceeded the expenditure ensuring the great balance of the macro-economy, controlling inflation, ensuring enough funding for the implementation of the goals and tasks set out at the beginning of the year; ensure funding for pandemic prevention. Currently, the Ministry of Finance is actively advising the Government on economic management and development, macro-financial stability.
Minister Ho Duc Phoc
Discussing the financial cooperation between Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia, Minister Ho Duc Phoc said: In the past, Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia have cooperated in the field of debt, aid through loan agreements between the Government of Vietnam (represented by the Ministry of Finance) and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
The SFD Fund started providing concessional loans to Viet Nam from 2011. Until now, the total amount of capital SFD has committed to lend to Viet Nam is 615.375 million Arab Riyals (equivalent to about 164.1 million USD) for 12 projects. Projects using loans from the SFD focus on areas such as improvement of rural infrastructure, human resource development, and healthcare development in provinces that still face many economic difficulties in Viet Nam.
In the field of customs, in 2021, the Saudi Arabia side mentioned the possibility of the two countries negotiating a government-level agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs, including regulations on information exchange in electronic customs. However, at present, the Saudi Arabia side has announced that it is suspending projects on electronic linking of customs data. Therefore, the above-mentioned agreement negotiation can only be restarted when the Saudi Arabia side continues the projects of electronic exchange of customs data with foreign partners.
In the field of taxation, Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia signed the Agreement on Avoiding Double Taxation on April 10th 2010 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and took effect on February 1st 2011. The Minister proposed to strengthen the activities in the field of taxation of the two countries in the future.
Speaking at the meeting, Ambassador Saud F.M. Al Suwelim sincerely thanked Minister Ho Duc Phoc for sharing about Viet Nam's macroeconomic situation and the cooperation relationship between the two countries. The Ambassador said that the cooperation relationship between Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia has made many development, the two sides have signed many agreements to cooperate in order to bring benefits to both countries.
Minister Ho Duc Phoc and Arab Saudi Ambassador to Viet Nam Mr Saud F.M. AL Suwelim
at the meeting
According to Ambassador Saud F.M. Al Suwelim, Saudi Arabia is a country with a free and open market, a member of G20 countries that occupying high position in this group. Besides, Saudi Arabia is also the country with the largest investment fund in the world with many large projects. Therefore, the Ambassador welcomes Vietnamese investors to Saudi Arabia to cooperate and seek business investment opportunities, as well as increase cooperation between the Taxation and Customs authorities of the two countries.
“Saudi Arabia is willing to cooperate, provide resources through Saudi Fund for Development and provide technical assistance to Viet Nam in order to promote the cooperation, investment and trade relationship between the two countries in the future”. Ambassador Saud F.M. Al Suwelim affirmed.
Ambassador Saud F.M. Al Suwelim also thanked the Government and the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam for creating favorable conditions for Arab Saudi enterprises investing in Vietnam and expressed his wish that the Ministry of Finance continue to closely coordinate with the Saudi Fund for Development to further promote investment opportunities for enterprises of the two countries in the future.
At the end of the meeting, Minister Ho Duc Phoc thanked the Government and the Ambassador personally for their support to Viet Nam in the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister looks forward to working closely with Saudi Arabia authorities, especially in the field of tax and customs to promote export between the two countries to increase both in quantity and quality. The Minister said that currently, Viet Nam's total import-export reached over 600 billion USD in 2021, but the total import-export between the two countries is only about 2 billion USD. This is a modest level while the potential for cooperation between the two countries in this field is huge. Therefore, the Minister wished that the Ambassador would be a bridge for the Tax and Customs authorities of the two countries to strengthen cooperation more effectively in the future.
H.Tho (Translator: Nhat Linh)