Sri Lanka and Vietnam agree to intensify collateral parliamentary cooperation

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ietnam and Sri Lanka have agreed to maintain and intensify the exchange of all-level delegations of their legislative bodies, particularly special committees, in order to share information and experience in parliamentary activities, law making and supervision.

The consensus was reached during talks between the visiting Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and the Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on April 24 in Hanoi, Vietnam News Service reported.Sri Lankan Speaker is on an official visit to Vietnam from April 23-27 at the invitation of Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman.

The Vietnamese parliamentary leader informing the Sri Lankan Speaker that the National Assembly had established the Vietnam-Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, said that her Sri Lankan counterpart’s visit would help deepen the friendship and traditional cooperation between the two countries and the collaboration between the two legislatures.

The two sides agreed to promote the role of the friendship parliamentarians’ groups in boosting cooperation between the two law-making bodies in particular and the two countries in general, while reinforcing the legislatures’ role in monitoring and accelerating the implementation of reached agreements. They will also step up coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The two legislative leaders held that Vietnam and Sri Lanka should work harder to fully realize the memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation inked in 2011, promote ties in logistics and war consequence settlement, and join hands in UN peace-keeping operations.They called for the early implementation of the biennial security dialogue mechanism at the level of minister of public security, and more sharing of experience and information to enhance capacity of fighting cross-border crimes and terrorists in order to ensure security in each nation.

Sri Lankan Speaker expressed his hope for affiliation between the police academies of the two countries, and the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman also voiced her support of the partnership.Regarding economic ties, the two legislative leaders took note of the growth in bilateral trade, which reached nearly US$ 320 million in 2017, saying Vietnam and Sri Lanka have substantial potential for co-operation, especially in oil and gas, infrastructure, information and communications technology (ICT), garment-textile, rubber, leather and footwear, farm produce processing and distribution, seafood, dairy production and consumption, renewable energy, and aviation and maritime transportation.

NA Chairwoman Nguyen urged the two sides to effectively materialize documents signed during the official visit to Vietnam by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in April 2017, and suggested amending and signing new documents to respond to the new situation.She called for the second meeting of the joint trade subcommittee to be held early in Vietnam in order to seek measures to remove bottlenecks hindering the bilateral trade, towards raising two-way trade revenue to $1 billion.

The Vietnamese chief legislator also proposed increasing investment promotion and trade connectivity, saying the two sides should seek ways to effectively implement the agreement on investment promotion and protection as well as the cooperation minutes on enhancing bilateral investment.The two sides agreed on the need to pay more attention to aviation links, considering this a strong and effective solution to facilitate trade and tap the tourism potential of both sides.

The Sri Lankan parliament speaker pledged to help Vietnam with technologies in farming sea cucumber and seaweed, and aquaculture, while calling on Vietnam to share experience and expertise in agriculture.NA Chairwoman Ngan said the two sides should support each other and avoid competition in products they both have strength like tea, coffee and seafood.

During their talks, the leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of shared concern. The chief legislator appealed to Sri Lanka to support the stance of Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially in principled matters such as aviation and navigation freedom, international law observance and peaceful settlement of disputes. NA Chairwoman Ngan hosted a banquet for the Sri Lankan parliament speaker and his entourage later the same day.

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