Medical workers administer COVID-19 vaccine to people at an inoculation site (Photo: VNA)
– Ambassador of Israel to Vietnam
Nadav Eshcar spoke highly of Vietnam’s successful response to COVID-19 during a
recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, saying he is impressed to see
the significant growth in the trade volume between the two countries over the
last two years despite the COVID-19 challenges.
“Vietnam was very professional in managing to stop the
pandemic from going into the country,” he said. Basically in the first year
when almost all the world, including Israel, was struggling, the situation was
quite normal in Vietnam and a lot of lives have been saved, he said.
“That was already a huge success for the Vietnamese Government."
He said the Vietnamese Government had to struggle very hard
to find solutions for the health element the first and foremost, Eshcar noted,
particularly mentioning the country’s largest-ever COVID-19 vaccine rollout as
Vietnam is among the most vaccinated countries in the world,
he continued. “You can see huge difference at the beginning of the crisis,
especially in the South about half a year ago when people were not yet
vaccinated, and now.”
Though the number of people being infected remains high, the
mortality rate went down significantly, he stated. “I think the Vietnamese Government
is doing very well on the health level."
He also complimented Vietnam’s economic resilience despite
the collapse of many businesses and supply chain disruptions globally, saying
it was a surprise for him to witness the Vietnam - Israel trade expanded 36
percent in 2020 and some 15 - 20 percent in 2021.
Ambassador of Israel to Vietnam Nadav Eshcar (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam and Israel are scheduled to complete the signing of
a free trade agreement this year, expected to providing strong momentum for the
two economies to advance further.
He forecast that once the trade deal takes effect, the
Vietnam - Israel trade will be lifted from current 2 billion USD to 3 - 4 billion
USD annually. This year, the two nations plan to finalise talks over the FTA
which started in December 2015.
He went on to say that basically, the economies of Israel
and Vietnam are not competing with but complementing each other. While Vietnam
is a hub of agro production, Israel is a large manufacturer of technology in
various fields, ranging from cybersecurity, education, telecommunications and
Speaking of the two countries’ talks on a labour agreement
to send Vietnamese to work in agriculture in Israel which were launched last
year, the diplomat said “the agreement has to be done very carefully to make
sure the rights of the workers are fully kept in the best manner.”
He further noted that around 700 Vietnamese students came to
study in Israel every year under an apprenticeship programme in modern farming,
adding that the project has run for 12 - 13 years now and he has seen many
success stories of these students who returned Vietnam with knowledge,
experience, and spirit they learned in Israel.
Vietnam and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1993.
The bilateral ties have been thriving in multiple fields, particularly
science-technology and trade. Vietnam is Israel’s largest trade partner in
Southeast Asia with the two-way trade reaching about 1.8 billion USD in 2020./.