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Spotlight Article

Azerbaijan-Vietnam Relations

Azerbaijan America Alliance
May 18, 2015

Last week President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan hosted President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam for a state visit in Baku. President Truong’s first visit to Azerbaijan, coming nearly a year after President Aliyev and a delegation of Azerbaijani representatives attended a business forum in Hanoi, signals the formation of deeper ties between both countries.

 

During the Soviet Era Azerbaijan often provided graduate-level training and education to Vietnamese students, especially in fields related to petroleum and gas production. A memorandum of understanding signed by the heads of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group will likely lay a path to ongoing collaboration in these fields. Similar memoranda of understanding were signed related to cooperation in agricultural production, transportation, and customs. These documents signal a convergence of will between both countries to improve economic cooperation and ease barriers to trade. Both presidents indicated their desire to organize a meeting or inter-governmental committee on trade, science, and technology that will generate more high-ranking agreements. The memoranda will likely help Azerbaijan meet the goal of boosting two-way trade with Vietnam from $400 Million in 2014 to $1 Billion in the near future.

 

Improved ties between Azerbaijan and Vietnam, two fast growing economies in strategically important regions, represents a great opportunity for them and their other trade partners. Though oil and gas production remains a strategic priority for both countries, President Aliyev affirmed his belief that a positive next step will be studying, defining, and developing new areas for cooperation between both countries. In the long run deepened ties between Azerbaijan and Vietnam may also serve as a bridge to improved economic relations with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN). This will likely contribute to improved cooperation in not just trade, but other important transnational issues ranging from regional security to humanitarian assistance.

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