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Minister visits Vietnam to see the impact of Irish Aid and to increase trade and investment

Trade, Press Releases, Asia and Oceania, 2012

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD today begins a three-day visit to Vietnam to see the impact of Ireland’s development aid programme and to discuss measures to increase trade between Ireland and Vietnam.

Minister Costello will visit schools, irrigation schemes and community facilities supported by Ireland which are targeted at poor farmers living in some of the most remote and mountainous regions of the country. He will also visit demining schemes supported by Irish Aid, and meet disabled people who are still suffering from the legacy of conflict forty years after the end of the Vietnam War.

During his trip, Minister Costello will hold discussions with representatives of a number of Irish companies who are working successfully in the Vietnam market, including ESB International, PM Group and Trinity Biotech. The Minister will hear how Ireland can build trade with Vietnam, a dynamic and rapidly developing market of 90 million people.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister Costello said: “I am delighted to travel to Vietnam, one of the most dynamic and exciting countries in Asia. Vietnam has made remarkable progress in reducing the number of people living in poverty from almost 60% in the early 1990s to fewer than 15% today. However, notwithstanding this achievement, some 15 million Vietnamese people continue to live in poverty, particularly those of ethnic minority living in rural areas. Many communities are still suffering from the legacy of war that has scarred the country.

“The Irish Aid programme in Vietnam is clearly-focused on assisting vulnerable communities through supporting the provision of school and irrigation schemes; through demining and the disposal of unexploded bombs which cause death and devastating injury every year; and through helping the poor and disabled overcome the legacy of war.”

Minister Costello added:  “A second strand of Ireland’s aid programme in Vietnam is supporting the Government to increase economic growth through programmes to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation in the private sector. I am delighted that, during my visit, I will have a chance to talk to Irish companies who are competing successfully for business in Vietnam, such as ESB International, PM Group and Trinity Biotech. I will also meet with students who have studied in Ireland. The education sector is expanding rapidly in Vietnam, with some 100,000 students travelling overseas to study every year.  I want more of these talented students to come to Ireland to study in our excellent third-level institutions.”

During the visit, Minister Costello will also announce Ireland’s continued support for demining and clearance of unexploded bombs in Vietnam, working with the internationally respected NGO, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).

Minister Costello will be the guest of honour at a gala dinner to mark 25 years of ESB International’s success in Vietnam, where he will meet Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, who studied in Ireland on an ESB International scholarship.

He will also meet the Ministers for Planning and Investment, Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for Justice who has recently returned from Ireland where he signed an agreement to resume inter-country adoption between Ireland and Vietnam.

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