Haitian prime minister, Laurent Lamothe (L) meets with Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti's president and chief of government on Friday welcomed Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, who was on a one-day official visit to the Caribbean country, as both nations move to strengthen cooperation ties in different areas.
During a meeting at the presidential palace, President Michel Martelly told Nguyen Tan Dung that Haiti was ready to welcome Vietnamese entrepreneurs who want to invest in the country.
"I want to tell you that we are open to facilitate Vietnamese investments which will be based on a win-win approach," Martelly said.
"Vietnamese investors can do good, profitable business here and Haitians will be able to find sustainable jobs and the investments will boost our economy," he said.
The message was also directly conveyed to several dozen Vietnamese businessmen who accompanied the prime minister of Vietnam.
Haitian prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, and several of his ministers had a working session with the Vietnamese delegation, during which both governments committed to increasing cooperation in various sectors such as agriculture, tourism, energy, construction, trade, textile manufacturing, health and technology.
"We appreciate the support and the solidarity we are receiving from Vietnam in the framework of this South-South cooperation," said Lamothe.
"Haiti is only 900 km off the US coasts and Vietnamese entrepreneurs who invest in Haiti can have easy duty free access to the US market, provided that the product is manufactured in Haiti," explained Lamothe.
He was referring to the HOPE Act, passed by the US Congress, which gives special customs advantages, particularly for apparel products made in Haiti.
Lamothe announced the creation of a joint bilateral Haiti/Vietnam commission to follow up on agreements and projects initiated by both governments.
"I've just instructed the minister of foreign affairs to initiate, with relevant Vietnamese counterparts, the establishment of the joint commission," said Lamothe who has already designated several ministers to lead efforts in their own sectors.
For his part, Nguyen Tan Dung promised to continue to help Haiti in areas such as food security and saluted progress made in various fields since the 2010 devastating earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people in Haiti.
"We've seen the progress made here and we will continue to work hand in hand with Haiti," Nguyen said.
"We are sending 200,000 tons of rice to Haiti at preferential costs, but we are also committed to helping Haiti develop its capacity to produce more rice and become self-sufficient," he assured.
The Vietnamese official thanked the Haitian government for the support given to Vietel, the Vietnamese company, which is the majority shareholder of the telecom group NATCOM, in its efforts to develop and expand operations.
Last year, Haiti opened a diplomatic mission to Vietnam and the Vietnamese government is also in the process opening an embassy in Haiti to meet diplomatic reciprocity rules and to facilitate follow-up and ensure more permanent interactions between both governments and other sectors.
On Friday, representatives of both countries signed protocols on several areas of cooperation.