2019 marks the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of Spanish and Vietnamese diplomatic relations, and the 10th anniversary of building strategic partnership in the future.
Spanish investors increasingly pay attention to Vietnam
Over the past 42 years, Vietnam and Spain have inked perse co-operation agreements and deals. Hoang Quang Phong, vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Vietnam is Spain's main trade partner in the ASEAN, with two-way trade turnover increasing by 15-20per cent per year on average.
Specifically, bilateral trade revenue amounted to $3.7 billion in 2018. The two sides set the target to elevate trade turnover to more than $5 billion by 2020.
Regarding development co-operation, Spain fosters comprehensive relations with Vietnam which received pledges of$300 million of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for bilateral and multilateral co-operation projects for over 10 years. Currently, Spain continues to bump up about $350 million for infrastructure development projects in Vietnam.
In a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in October 2018, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the Spanish government to encourage companies to gain ground in Vietnam and to sound out more business opportunities in the local market in the fields ofrenewable energy, hightechnology, education, infrastructure, and architecture.
In mid-August last year at the Vietnam-Spain Co-operation and Development Forum, Spanish Ambassador to Vietnam María Jesús Figa Lopez-Palop emphasised that Vietnam is an important and long-term strategic partner of Spain.
Many Spanish programmes and projects are effectively implemented across the provinces and cities of Vietnam. According to her, the trade relationship between the two countries has made significant development. "We can proudly say that Vietnam is one of Spain’s most important partners."
Over the past few years, Vietnam’s rapid economic growth has attracted many Spanish firms. Multiple well-known brands in Spain have entered the country such as Acciona. Sim Hwee Ping, Infrastructure Business Development manager of Acciona in Singapore and Southeast Asia, expressedhis optimistic outlook on Vietnam’s future.
“We are entering the market at the right time, Vietnam is at a cusp of exponential growth, powered by strong GDP growth, record foreign direct investments, and a young and emerging middle-class population. With nearly 100 years of experience globally, Acciona can contribute our best-in-class expertise and practical solutions to the sectors of transport infrastructure, environment, and industry, where there are gaps currently. Vietnam is a key strategic market for Acciona. Therefore, we are actively seeking opportunities to work with local partners and the government,” said Sim Hwee Ping.
Spanish investors show interest in infrastructure and energy in Vietnam
Infrastructure and energyare among the new trends of investment and co-operation pursuedby Spanish investors in Vietnam in the near future.
According to Spanish Ambassador to Vietnam María Jesús Figa Lopez-Palop, with the current growth momentum in Vietnam, there are two main areas where Spain has a lot of experience and can help Vietnam, namely infrastructure and energy.
The two countries have also strengthened co-operation in these areas. “We are looking forward to learning more about Vietnam's infrastructure and energy sectors so that we can develop co-operation in the future. Many Spanish businesses are preparing to bid for the construction and supply of airport facilities such as radar systems and airport traffic management in Vietnam.”
She added Spain is considered one of the leading countries in the infrastructure field in Europe and Latin America. Meanwhile, in the field of energy, there is also the presence of Spanish businesses specialised in renewable energy. This is an extremely important field for every country in the world, and Spain thinks Vietnam shares the latter’s interest.
Acciona, as one of the biggest international contractors, can add value to these projects throughout his experience, expertise, and background. The company has a clear mission: help the country and the people of Vietnam to fight global warming and its effects with the latest technology and bring the best quality of life to the people here.
“With the commitment to the environment and sustainability, Acciona is very optimistic when entering the Vietnamese market. We are confident that with nearly 100 years of experience all over the world, we will bring the most advanced technology with European standards to Vietnam,” said Ruben Camba, Infrastructure director of Acciona in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
The presence of Acciona in Vietnam is considered to expand foreign co-operation and investment in Vietnam and is a big step forward to call for other Spanish businesses to explore the country’s potentials.
The company aims to become a long-term partner in Vietnam, working towards the development of sustainable infrastructure projects, with a focus on the procurement of water and transport infrastructure to benefit present and future generations.
Camba said that in the coming years, Acciona will work closely with Vietnamese partners to join in other infrastructure projects, which is the strength of this Spanish construction group, such as bridges, airports, metro, ports, hospitals, renewable energy plants, and water plants.
Camba also shared that the world generates more than 2 billion tonnes of waste every year, but only 20per cent of them can be recycled – and this amount of waste is expected to grow with the population every year.
In Asian countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and India, the amount of waste could more than double to over 600 million tonnes between 2015 and 2025.
In order to effectively solve the garbage disposed in the environment, Acciona has built waste-to-energy facilities to generate electricity for households in many countries. Currently, Acciona is building such a facilityin the UK, the first thermal utility-scale waste-to-energy facility in Australia, and has completed many similar plants in Spain.
The Australia-based plant that Acciona is building can process 400,000 tonnes of waste per year and generate 36MW of electricity, enough to power50,000 households,” he added.
Furthermore, Acciona also produces electricity from clean energy sources such as solar and wind. Acciona has installed more than 9,000MW capacity in renewable energies across the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia,providingfor 12 million homes.