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5 years of unanimously overcoming difficulties and achieving more progress on the way of international integration

The term of the 10th Provincial Party Congress (2015-2020) officially ended with certain achievements in the context of increasing difficulties and challenges. Starting the term, besides the advantages gained from the previous term, Tien Giang province faced many difficulties such as drought and saline intrusion in early 2016. In the last year of the term, the province was also heavily affected by drought and saline intrusion (more severe than in 2016) and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Compared to other provinces in the Mekong Delta, despite such difficulties, with the cooperation and consensus of all levels of government and people, Tien Giang province continues to be in the top in terms of scale and and level of economic development. Over the past 5 years, its foreign affairs and international integration have achieved many positive results, significantly contributing to the provincial socio-economic development. Some their major achievements in the term were as follows:

Firstly, the system of legal documents in the field of foreign affairs and international integration was fully and synchronously promulgated. It was highly appreciated by Mr. Hoang Binh Quan - Head of the Central Party Commission for External Relations and his delegation on the visit to work with the Provincial Party Committee and People's Committee in July 2018.

Secondly, the external relations activities of the provincial Party and the government have increasingly been strengthened and expanded. Over the past years, the Party's external relations have helped to create a reliable and solid political foundation to promote the government's foreign relations, and expand the people-to-people diplomacy. The provincial leaders have had meetings and worked with a number of foreign political parties, especially of neighboring countries, and traditional friends. For the government, the provincial People's Committee has set up cooperation or signed MOUs with provincial-level authorities and ministries of foreign countries such as: Pursat province - Cambodia, Khammuon province - Laos, Maputo province - Mozambique, Ministry of Fisheries - Mozambique, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Industry and Commerce, etc. and previously with the Queensland State Government - Australia, Griffith University - Australia, Golden Resources Group - Hong Kong.

Thirdly, the people-to-people diplomacy has been strengthened in many fields with many practical activities. The provincial leaders, on the one hand,  provided orientations through guidelines and policies; on the other hand, encouraged socio-political organizations and mass organizations to strengthen their connection with international organizations to introduce the guidelines and policies of the Party and the laws of the State in socio-economic development to international friends; exchange experience in the fields of: human resource education and training, health, agriculture and rural development models, natural disaster prevention and climate change, livelihood stabilization, management of natural resources  and environment, urban management, investment promotion, trade - tourism, etc.

At the meeting (Photo: Minh Thu)

At the same time, to mobilize the support of foreign non-governmental organizations in implementing a number of welfare programs and projects in the localities facing difficulties in the province. In addition, there were many foreign volunteers who came to teach English, Japanese, Korean, Information Technology, electronics, mechanics, etc. to help students at colleges have all the necessary skills and knowledge to participate in labor markets domestic and abroad. Tien Giang University and Tien Giang Medical College signed contracts of teaching workers Japanese and send them to work in Japan. Up to now, there have been about 400 trained workers, 100 of whom work for Japanese enterprises or went to Japan to work. In contrast, foreign workers in the province are mostly Asians (accounting for nearly 96% of their total number).

Fourthly, diplomatic work better serves investment, international trade in particular and economic development in general. Tien Giang province pays great attention to international economic integration. During the term, the Provincial People's Committee organized many forums for the local government and its partners, investors, and foreign enterprises to directly and frankly discuss policy issues and call for investment such as: Meeting with Japanese Consulting Companies; Conference on Agricultural Cooperation between India and Mekong Delta provinces; the Ceremony to Announce the First Shipment of Star Apples to the United States; Investment Promotion Conference of Tien Giang Province in 2018; Conference on Technical Barriers for Agricultural and Fishery Products towards Sustainable Development in the Mekong Delta. The above events attracted the attention of many foreign-invested enterprises. Thereby, investors and enterprises can get more information about the provincial potentials, advantages, investment opportunities, as well as preferential policies, investment procedures, infrastructure development of the industrial parks, and clusters, labor supply and conveniences serving investment projects.

In terms of export turnover, Tien Giang is always at the top, compared to other provinces in the Mekong Delta, with its annual export turnover of over 2 billion USD. For foreign investment capital attraction, the province currently has 131 investment projects from 21 countries and territories, with a total registered investment capital of about 2.73 billion USD. For ODA attraction, in 2019, the province had 04 active ODA projects, 03 of which have currently been completed and put into operation, and 1 project is being implemented (their total disbursement of about 8,636 million dongs: ODA capital - about 6,044 million dongs, the provincial reciprocal capital - about 2,592 million dongs). In addition, to create favorable conditions for businesses located in the province to travel to other countries and territories of APEC for their cooperation activities and goods import and export, from 2016 to now the Provincial People's Committee has approved the use of ABTC cards for 127 business people.

Fifthly, the external-related information work is carried out in increasingly diverse forms. It is done through mass media, print newspapers, pictorial newspapers, Tien Giang bulletins (12 publications/year), and training courses. They, thereby, promptly provide thematic information to diplomatic missions and international organizations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, foreign-invested enterprises, provincial government agencies and People's Committees of district level for their understanding of the external-relations activities of the Party and State.

Sixthly, cultural diplomacy is also expanding. Exchange activities between the provincial students and those from countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan took place more often. The province, step by step, has also strengthened its cultural integration with other countries through performing arts exchanges with countries such as India, Korea, and Japan.

From 2016 up to now, the province has cooperated with foreign diplomatic missions to successfully organize meaningful cultural and performing arts exchange events such as: International Yoga Day (annual), Vietnam - India Cultural Exchange (2019), and Dong Hoa Hiep Ancient Village Culture and Tourism Festival (2019). They, thereby, create stronger spiritual foundation for deeper and more practical economic integration of the province. The exchange activities were organized in more diversified forms thanks to the positive impacts of the provincial delegations'visits to foreign countries and foreign delegations' to Tien Giang. From 2016 up to now, Tien Giang has welcomed more than 800 foreign delegations.

Seventhly, the international integration not only helps the province to expand its relations with international friends but also enhances its exchanges to better access advanced scientific and technical achievements. Currently, localities in the province are applying a number of production models learned from other countries such as: growing melons, cherry tomatoes, and vegetables in net houses using drip irrigation technology of Israel; water and electricity saving irrigation technology for dragon fruit growing areas in Cho Gao district; growing dragon fruits in rows; building the province's high-tech agricultural zone according to the model of the Agricultural Seed Improvement Center in Taiwan; the experience of building rural areas of new development model in Korea (Saemoul Undong).

Eighthly, the province has had many highlights in overseas Vietnamese affairs. Up to now, about 18,019 Vietnamese people from Tien Giang province are living abroad. There are 18 enterprises invested by overseas Vietnamese with a total registered capital of 123.74 billion dongs. There are also 3 Associations of Overseas Vietnamese's Relatives in the province. In 2019, the remittances sent to the province were about 80 million USD, equivalent to 1,840 billion dongs, which is equal to nearly 1/5 of the provincial budget revenue.

Based on the Agreement on Socio-economic Cooperation between Tien Giang province and Ho Chi Minh city, the province collaborated with Ho Chi Minh City Overseas Vietnamese Committee to successfully organize the Conference on "Overseas Vietnamese's Contribution to Building Their Homeland, Its Integration and Development" at the end of 2019. In June 2020, Tien Giang also met with the Vietnam - Korea Business and Investment Association (VKBIA) to discuss potential cooperation in the coming time, thereby creating opportunities to contact Korean investment funds and big investors in the near future.

Currently, Vietnam has been expanding its bilateral and multilateral relations with many countries around the world. Vietnam's position in the region and the world is being raised. This is a solid foundation for localities to promote their external relations activities in the coming time. For Tien Giang, in order to improve the effectiveness of foreign affairs, in the near future, the province will focus on the following key tasks:

Continue to consolidate and establish multifaceted cooperation with other countries; further promote the economic diplomacy, especially the investment, trade and tourism promotion, focusing on attracting investment from big enterprises, technology enterprises, and high quality agricultural and fishery product processing enterprises; further improve the quality of external-related information work and cultural diplomacy to introduce the country and people of Tien Giang, and enhance the mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between the local people and those of other countries by using many different languages.

In particular, the province will focus on inviting overseas Vietnamese who are entrepreneurs and intellectuals  to Tien Giang to carry out cooperation and investment activities; promptly and closely collaborating with relevant agencies to properly handle consular work, protect the provincial citizens abroad and foreigners living, working and carrying out activities in the province; ensuring a peaceful and stable environment, for the peace of mind of foreigners living and working in the province; and continuing the implementation of administrative reform and improving the professionalism, service quality and foreign language proficiency of the government employees working in foreign affairs.

On the threshold of the new term, there are still many difficulties and challenges. However, with the foundations built from the previous tenures together with the decisions and solutions for socio-economic development in the new term, it is believed that Tien Giang will continue to overcome all difficulties to achieve sustainable development. In particular, the foreign affairs will continue to well perform its task of connecting the province to many countries around the world and have cooperation at a deeper and broader level./.

Translated by the Department of Foreign Affairs


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