Located in Central Europe, Poland borders Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia to the East; Germany to the West; the Baltic Sea to the North and Czech and Slovakia republics to the South. The country has had a long and colorful history, an area of 312,679sq.km and a population of 38.56 million people (as of 2016). In the 1945-1989 period, Poland had an economy with highest growth rates among socialist countries. Since 1990, the country has practiced liberalization of the economy and become one of the Central European countries most successful in shifting from a semi-centralized economy to a market one. Poland was not affected by the world economic crisis in 2008-2009 and is now ranked the 20th in the world and the sixth in the European Union (EU) in terms of GDP.

President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda. Source: VNA

Since 2004 when it joined the EU and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Poland has deeply integrated into these two organizations and at the same time augmented its relationship with the United States. At present, Poland is a member of a number of regional and global organizations, such as the UN, EU, NATO, WTO, OECD, OSCE, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank.

Vietnam and Poland established their bilateral diplomatic relationship on February 4, 1950. During the two wars of resistance of Vietnam against the French and US invaders, Poland provided huge support for Vietnam and was the only country to be a member of both the International Control Commission overseeing the implementation of the Geneva Accords in 1954 and the International Commission of Control and Supervision overseeing the implementation of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Thousands of Polish military officers and cadres joined these two commissions.

In recent years, Vietnam and Poland have seen vigorous development in their traditional friendship and cooperation in various fields. The two sides have regularly exchanged delegations at all levels and signed documents shaping the legal framework for boosting cooperation in such fields as politics, economics, trade and investment, defense, security, education and training, and more.

In terms of trade, Poland is at present the top partner of Vietnam in the Central and Eastern European region while Vietnam is the seventh biggest non-EU partner of Poland with its export staples of garments-textiles, aquaculture products, rice, coffee, pepper, telephones, electronic products, etc. Poland’s main export items to Vietnam are milk powder, medicines, fruit, equipment for the coal and shipbuilding industries, amongst others. The two-way trade value has increased quite quickly over the past time, standing at USD 790 million in 2016 and USD 730 million in the first nine months of 2017.

As for investment, by October 2017, Poland had had 14 on-going investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of USD 182.88 million. Between 2014 and 2017, Polish investment in Vietnam has doubled in value, mainly focusing on real estate, processing and service sectors. Vietnam now has four investment projects in the service and food industry sectors in Poland with a total investment value of about USD 5.1 million.

In terms of defense cooperation, Vietnam and Poland signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in 2010. The two sides have regularly exchanged delegations and in August 2013, the Defense Minister of Vietnam visited Poland and the Polish Defense Minister visited Vietnam in August 2014. In October 2010, Poland assigned a permanent Defense Attaché to Hanoi and in September 2014, Vietnam reciprocated and appointed a permanent Defense Attaché to Poland.

The two sides have also paid special attention to cooperation in education and training. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Poland trained more than 4,000 Vietnamese students and scientists and over 3,500 workers (mainly in the coal and shipbuilding industries). One of the Vietnam-Poland friendship projects still in operation is the Vietnam-Poland High School in Hanoi and each year, Poland offers 10 undergraduate and graduate scholarships and provides a 10-month apprenticeship for 10 Vietnamese students.

The overseas Vietnamese community in Poland also serves as one of the important connections to promote relations between the two countries. At present, there are about 40,000 overseas Vietnamese living, studying and working in Poland, enjoying a relatively stable life, contributing to the development of trade-economic relations between the two countries and are highly appreciated and valued by the Polish Government. A number of Vietnamese-Polish have come back to Vietnam and have been quite successful with their investment projects, especially in the realms of real estate and finance.

The four-day visit of President Andrzej Duda to Vietnam will be a driving force for Vietnam-Poland bilateral cooperation to thrive in various areas, especially in economic-trade, investment, defense, security, education and training, health and environment fields. On this occasion, the two sides will discuss international and regional issues of mutual concern. Based on a good foundation of the traditional friendship, we are confident that President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Vietnam will be successful and contribute to promoting multifaceted cooperation, bringing about substantial benefits for the people of the two countries.

The People’s Army Newspaper

Translated by Huu Duong