DPM Heng meets Ho Chi Minh City's leaders as he wraps up visit to Vietnam

DPM Heng Swee Keat (left) met Ho Chi Minh City's party secretary Nguyen Van Nen (right) on the last day of his Vietnam trip. PHOTO: HENG SWEE KEAT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat met Ho Chi Minh City's party secretary Nguyen Van Nen and chairman of its People's Committee Phan Van Mai as he wrapped up his visit to Vietnam on Thursday.

He thanked them for their continued support for Singapore and its companies, and said that they agreed to step up cooperation between the two cities.

Writing on his Facebook page on Thursday, he said: "I look forward to further partnerships that will play to each other's strengths."

During his official visit from Sunday to Thursday, DPM Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, also visited the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in Binh Duong province, north of Ho Chi Minh City. This was the first VSIP to be established in 1996.

It is familiar territory to him, as he was involved in the first VSIP during his days in the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the early 2000s.

"Good to see how this initiative has now grown into 10 parks," he said.

"The latest VSIP, also in Binh Duong, is twice as big and when completed, will be much smarter, greener, and innovative."

He added that the evolution of VSIP is also reflective of Vietnam's growth in the past few decades.

He said he is glad Singapore and its enterprises had the opportunity to make a contribution, and hopes the partnership will continue to grow from strength to strength.

The 10 VSIPs today are a major component of the economic engagement between Singapore and Vietnam, and have attracted US$14 billion (S$19.7 billion) in investments and created more than 270,000 jobs in Vietnam.

DPM Heng also met Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other office-holders during the visit.

They reaffirmed the bilateral commitment towards deepening cooperation, especially in new areas of growth such as the digital economy, green economy and innovation.

Both countries will commemorate in 2023 the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Strategic Partnership.

Under the partnership, both countries have multi-faceted cooperation in areas including trade and investment, defence, education, finance, transport and people-to-people ties.

Bilateral trade between Singapore and Vietnam reached $26.9 billion last year, an 18.7 per cent increase from the year before.

More Singapore companies are also choosing to invest in Vietnam, riding on and contributing to the country's steady economic growth.

Vietnamese drip coffee, which has been gaining notice over the years, also received a nod from DPM Heng, who had a cup of it before taking his flight back to Singapore.

"Vietnamese coffee packs a strong punch, so I had to ration how much I drink," he said on his Facebook.

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