It will be Pham Minh Chinh's first visits to the two countries in his new position, and the first to Singapore after five years and to Brunei after 15 years by a  head of the Vietnamese Government, with a view to strengthening bilateral ties with the two nations.

This year, Vietnam and Singapore will celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of bilateral comprehensive partnership. Meanwhile, Vietnam and Brunei marked the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic ties last year.

PM Pham Minh Chinh (right) receives President of Singapore Halimah Yacob in October 2022.

Singapore is now Vietnam’s top important economic partner in the region, with two-way trade nearing 9 billion USD last year, up 10.1% annually. The island state leads ASEAN and ranks second among the 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 3,032 valid projects worth 70.39 billion USD.

At present, 12 Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in nine Vietnamese cities and provinces have an occupancy rate of around 83.2%, attracting 17.6 billion USD for some 900 projects and generating roughly 300,000 jobs.

During recent visits, the two countries’ leaders agreed on several major orientations to cooperation in new fields such as digital economy, digital transformation, regional and global supply chain connectivity, green economy, sustainable development, and chain collaboration in manufacturing.

Apart from national defense and security cooperation, bilateral coordination in education, culture and tourism has also been bolstered via specific and practical agreements and memoranda of understanding.

At multilateral forums and international arenas, both sides worked closely together on regional and global issues of shared concern, including the East Sea (South China Sea) issue.

PM Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Singapore aims to lift Vietnam - Singapore economic connectivity to a greater height in the context that a series of new-generation free trade deals joined by the two nations have taken effect, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Meanwhile, two-way trade between Vietnam and Brunei hit 725.8 million USD in 2022, up 134% year-on-year, surpassing the goal of 500 million USD set for 2025 by their leaders.

In the near future, the two sides have demand to boost joint work in promising areas such as agro-forestry-fisheries, Halal food, construction, infrastructure and joint ventures.

As of December 2022, Brunei ranked 26th out of the 141 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 157 valid projects valued at 971 million USD, mostly in industry, manufacturing and processing, construction and real estate. The Southern province of Dong Nai was the biggest recipient of its investment capital, followed by Binh Duong, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Long An, Thai Binh, and Phu Tho.

The two nations offered mutual liaison within ASEAN and at regional and global forums.

They also stepped up sea and ocean cooperation, including fisheries activities and aquaculture, while recording progress in oil and gas coordination with the launch of a PetroVietnam Drilling branch in Brunei.

Memoranda of understanding on agriculture and aquaculture were also signed by the two governments in May 2013. The meeting of the joint working group on aquaculture was held in Brunei in 2014, in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015 and in Brunei in 2017.

The two sides inked an MoU on education cooperation in April 2014 and another on tourism collaboration in November 2011. They offer visa waiver to their citizens holding ordinary passports for travel, and are negotiating to extend visa exemption period for ordinary, diplomatic and official passport holders.

As of November 2022, there were close to 300 Vietnamese living in Brunei, including students pursuing doctorate education at the University of Brunei Darussalam and over 200 working there.

Source: VNA