1. Political Relations:
Vietnam and Pakistan formally established diplomatic relations on 8 November 1972. Pakistan opened the permanent mission in Hanoi in 1973. However, due to economic reason, Pakistan closed the embassy in 1980. Vietnam also opened her permanent embassy in Islamabad in 1978 and had to close it down in 1984 due to her own economic difficulty.
The bilateral relations between Vietnam and Pakistan in recent years has been considerably improved. Both countries’ leaders expressed their willingness to strengthen the existing relations, not only in the political sphere but also in other areas such as trade and economics, and exchange more visits from one to another’s country, including both high-ranking and working visits.
Pakistan reopened her embassy in Hanoi in October 2000. Vietnam also reopened her embassy in Islamabad in December 2005 and trade office in Karachi in November 2005.
At the high level, General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan paid an official visit to Vietnam in May 2001. In March 2004, President Tran Duc Luong, at the invitation of President Pervez Musharraf, also visited Pakistan.
There were also several visits made by Vietnamese ministries to Pakistan. Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Le Cong Phung made an official visit to Pakistan in April 2002. Deputy Trade Minister Do Nhu Dinh visited Pakistan in October 2003. Also, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong led a delegation to Pakistan in April 2004. Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien, attending the Asian Cooperation Dialogue meeting held in Islamabad in April 2005, also paid a visit to Pakistan.
From the Pakistani side, Deputy Trade Minister Waqar Masood Khan in July 2003 visited Vietnam and co-hosted with Deputy Trade Minister Do Nhu Dinh the 1st Joint Committee Meeting between Vietnam and Pakistan.
The two countries also coordinated well in the international fora. Vietnam supported Pakistan’s candidacy for the UNSC non-permanent seat in the term 2002-2003 and Pakistan’s participation in the ARF in July 2004. Pakistan supported Vietnam’s accession to WTO and later her candidacy for the UNSC non-permanent seat in the term 2008-2009.
2. Economic, Trade, Investment, Science-Technology, and Cultural Relations:
The two countries had modest economic ties since the 1970s. Pakistan imported Vietnamese cement and exported fertilizers, jute bags and the Sind cow breed of Pakistan to Vietnam. However, since 1995, both countries expressed their wishes to push up the economic ties and explore other areas for bilateral cooperation, such as culture and education. Pakistan wanted to export knitting machines, thread spinning machines, sugar refinery machines to Vietnam as well as to send Pakistani experts in the petroleum sector to work in Vietnam. Vietnam and Pakistan also exchanged lists of export and import products.
In early 1998, Vietnam sent a group of businessmen to Pakistan. The group had a meeting with the Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan and visited various factories and companies to study the economic environment and opportunities to do business with Pakistani companies.
The bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and Pakistan considerably increased in the recent years. From the total amount of US$ 10 million in 1999, the trade turnover increased to US$ 27 million in 2000, US$ 30 million in 2001, US$ 47 million in 2002, US$ 50 million in 2003, US$ 69 million in 2004, US$ 75 million in 2005 and over US$ 90 million in 2006, US$ 134.1 million in 2007 and US$ 149.7 million in 2008.
The most popular Vietnamese export goods to Pakistan are tea, pepper, fabrics, rubber, cashew nuts, ceramics, steel, etc. Vietnam mainly imports from Pakistan garment and textile materials, fabrics, medicines, wheat flour, cattle foodstuff, cotton, etc. However, there are still great potentials for Vietnam and Pakistan to further enhance the multifaceted cooperation, such as in the areas of trade and investment, IT and software industry, agriculture, culture and education.
3. Cooperation Meetings:
3.1. Joint Commission between Vietnam and Pakistan:
The two countries signed MOU on the Establishment of the Joint Commission between Vietnam and Pakistan in April 2002. The first JC was held in Hanoi co hosted by Deputy Trade Minister Do Nhu Dinh from 8-9 July 2003. Under the agreement, the second JC will be held in Islamabad in the time to come.
3.2. Political Consultation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs:
The high-level leaders of the two countries agreed that the Political Consultation at Director General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be annually held under the framework of JC.
4. Documents signed between Vietnam and Pakistan:
1. Trade Agreement (May 2001);
2. MOU on the Establishment of the Joint Commission between Vietnam and Pakistan (April 2002);
3. Joint Declaration between the governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (March 2004);
4. Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation (March 2004);
5. Framework Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (March 2004);
6. MOU on Consultation between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs (March 2004);
7. MOU between the State Bank of Vietnam and the State Bank of Pakistan (March 2004).
8. Agreement on Fisheries and Aquaculture Cooperation (June 2006); and
9. Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomat and Official Passport (January 2007)./.