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Economic Diplomacy: Vietnam Shines as Chongqing's Key ASEAN Trading Partner | In Depth

By ZHAN CHEN|Jun 03,2023

Chongqing - Vietnam's robust economic development, competitive manufacturing sector, and abundant natural resources have attracted Chinese companies, including those from Southwest China's Chongqing, to invest in Vietnam. 

Increasing access to premium Vietnamese goods

By the end of 2022, more than 30 Chongqing firms invested in 21 manufacturing projects worth over 569 million U.S. dollars in Vietnam, including machinery and equipment, agricultural machinery, automotive, and motorcycle parts, said Trieu Thuy Nga, head of the Vietnam trade promotion office. 

Starting from 2020, Vietnam has maintained its position as the primary trading partner of Chongqing within the ASEAN region for three consecutive years, representing a substantial 40% share of Chongqing's overall trade with ASEAN.

Foreign trade between Chongqing and Vietnam. (Graphics/Chen Zhan)

Vietnam's rising status as Chongqing's primary trading partner within ASEAN can be attributed to several factors. Still, the most important is Chongqing's advantages of facilitating transportation and logistics.

"We work closely with Vietnamese enterprises to facilitate their participation and maximize the benefits of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) and China-Europe Railway Express," said Nguyen Tuan Ngoc, an official from the Vietnam Trade Promotion Office in Chongqing.

Nguyen Tuan Ngoc, an official from the Vietnam Trade Promotion Office in Chongqing. (Photo/Vietnam Trade Promotion Office in Chongqing)

The office has facilitated business and investment cooperation opportunities for enterprises in Chongqing and neighboring provinces and cities, helping Vietnamese companies export their goods to the Chinese market in various fields. 

"Now, residents in Chongqing can easily access premium Vietnamese goods, including G7 instant coffee, tropical fruits, and seafood," he said.

Vietnamese products are displayed in the Chongqing highway logistics base. (Photo/Visual Chongqing)

Chongqing and Vietnam have also promoted economic and trade cooperation through multiple platforms, which played a vital role in establishing business networks and facilitating trade transactions.

The Vietnamese side has shown enthusiasm for participating in the recently concluded Western China International Fair for Investment and Trade (WCIFIT) in Chongqing, allowing suppliers and buyers to negotiate face-to-face. 

WCIFIT has proven instrumental in fostering direct business interactions, enabling fruitful discussions, and forging valuable partnerships between Vietnamese and Chongqing enterprises.

Vietnam's first domestically invested waste-to-energy initiative

Chongqing Sanfeng Covanta Environmental Industry Co., Ltd invested in a waste-to-energy project in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Photo/Sanfeng Covanta)

Chongqing Sanfeng Covanta Environmental Industry Co., Ltd, a leading player in China's waste-to-energy (WTE) sector, has emerged as a prominent example of international expansion, with its presence in the Vietnam market.

In May 2022, Sanfeng Covanta signed an agreement for a waste incineration power generation project in Hanoi, Vietnam. The project aims to process 730,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually. 

The project is undergoing construction and is scheduled to be completed and operational by February 2024 to significantly enhance the urban environment in Hanoi while contributing to local ecological civilization development.

"By securing the Hanoi Serafin waste-to-energy project, we entered the Vietnamese market, a milestone for Chinese companies in exporting waste incineration power project technologies and equipment," said Zhu Junchen, project manager of Sanfeng Covanta. 

The project signifies Vietnam's first domestically invested waste-to-energy initiative and, more importantly, a crucial demonstration project in Sino-Vietnamese environmental cooperation. 

Vietnam contributing to the China-ASEAN economic ties

China and Vietnam issued the Joint Statement on June 1, 2008, and this year marks the 15th anniversary of establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides.

Data on foreign trade between China, ASEAN, and Vietnam. (Graphics/Chen Zhan)

As bilateral trade between Vietnam and China jumped to 234.9 billion U.S. dollars last year, Vietnam has become China's biggest trading partner among the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and its sixth-largest partner globally.

Vietnam is indispensable in contributing to the China-ASEAN economic ties. The ASEAN has remained China's largest trading partner for three consecutive years since 2020 despite the complex international environment.

This April, ASEAN accounted for 15.6% of China's total exports, surpassing the 15.1% of the European Union and 14.6% of the United States, data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed. 


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