Qatari-Vietnam relations have grown considerably over the years with greater prospects for more economic and business co-operation in various fields, Vietnamese ambassador Le Hong Phan told Gulf Times yesterday.

“The number of Vietnamese labour in Qatar has grown by more than 100 persons this year and there is room for more to come, especially in the construction sector,” he explained on the sidelines of the 68th National Day celebrations.

Low salaries are, however, discouraging Vietnamese workers to accept work contracts in Qatar as they can get good salaries in South East Asian countries such as Taiwan, North Korea and Japan.

Cultural difference and language barriers are two other key difficulties that face newly-recruited Vietnamese workers.

“The Vietnamese workers are usually given initial training on the requirements of the new work environment while they are in Vietnam before they move to Qatar to help them adapt quickly. There is a joint Qatar-Vietnamese construction company in Qatar that is doing well in this field,” the envoy said.

The ambassador pointed out that Qatari investment in Vietnam was also growing as Qatar Petroleum International had increased its shares in a joint  petrochemical project, Long Son Petrochemical Complex, from 25% to around 33% amounting to $1.5bn.

The project is expected to be accomplished by 2016 and it will provide a  number of jobs for the Vietnamese people. 

He said investment opportunities in Vietnam for Qatari businessmen were “abundant” and some of them were studying prospects.

The 68th National Day celebrations were held with a community gathering at the ambassador’s residence ahead of the scheduled date on September 2. The envoy urged his fellow compatriots to respect Qatari traditions and laws and “continue to serve as bridge in further strengthening Vietnam-Qatar friendly co-operation relations”.

“We are confident that relations between the two countries would continue to develop in future,” he affirmed.

He pointed out that “in the first six months of 2013, bilateral trade turnover reached nearly $70mn: Vietnam exports to Qatar seafood, electric cables and wires, wood, rattan and bamboo-woven products, ceramic items, construction glass, automobile spare parts, vegetables and electronic goods, while importing mainly liquefied gas, raw plastics and chemicals”. 

The ambassador took the opportunity of the National Day’s celebrations to inform community members about the achievements of their country.

“GDP in the first six months of 2013 achieved an estimated growth of 4.90%, of which agriculture, forestry and fishery rose 2.07%, industry and construction 5.18 % and service 5.92%.  The total registered foreign direct investment from the beginning of the year to July 20 reached $11.9bn, equalling 119.6% of the figures in the corresponding period  last year,” he said.

As the current chairman of the Asean committee in Doha, ambassador Phan saw “a great potential” to enhance the already strong Asean-Qatari relations further in cultural, political and economic fields.


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