The Vietnamese community in Norway now reaches over 20,000 people, which is the largest in Northern Europe. Norway invests in numerous projects in Vietnam and Vietnam is a leading trader of Norway recently. These are some of the evidences showing that two nations are keen on strengthening their intensive multi-dimensional cooperation.
The two countries Vietnam and Norway established official diplomatic ties in 1971. Vietnam Embassy in Oslo worked during 1978-1982 then it was reopened in 2009 and maintains operation until now.
In 1996, Norway also established its Embassy in Hanoi. Apart from supporting their nationals in the counterpart country, the two Embassies also make a significant contribution to bilateral cooperation. Vietnam and Norway often exchanged delegations at all levels by official visits to each other territories and meetings at the sidelines of International Summits. They have always cooperate effectively at organizations like WTO, UN and ASEM which they are all members of.
The Memorandum of Understanding to boost trade cooperation between Vietnam and Norway was signed in 2006. And later in 2012, negotiations on the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Area started.
It is undeniable that these factors have played a role in fostering 2-way trade between the 2 sides which achieved $US400 million in 2018 and tended to increase this year. The key export products to Norway include cashew nuts, garment-textile, footwear, and wood. Aquatic products are also potential in the future since Norway businesses are interested in this category. Meanwhile, machinery and equipment are frequently imported from Norway by Vietnamese firms thanks to their innovation.
Vietnam has received a privilege from Norway in terms of scholarship programs for international students. Each year, more than 200 scholarships of established universities are granted, which helps overseas students, including Vietnamese, expose to professional academic education in Norway. Some training programs on social majors like human rights are available for Vietnamese officers.
Furthermore, Norway is actively assisting Vietnam to improve education coverage to vulnerable subjects like ethnic minority residents and disabled children. Many schools have been built, hundreds of volunteers have been sent to Vietnam, and a lot of non-profit projects have been launched in the past years.
Tourism is a sector that Vietnam and Norway pay attention to in the development of their relationship. One of the signals is visa exemption for Norwegians in 15 days to Vietnam, which shows Vietnam’s goodwill to enhance visitors’ experience in the host country. The number of Norwegian citizens to Vietnam, therefore, sees a year-on-year increase. In 2018, over 26,000 Norwegian people came to Vietnam (rose 7.5% compared to 2017) and that number of the 8 first months of 2019 already reached 21,133.