Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with Vietnamese Minister of Defense Ngô Xuân Lịch

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin opened an economic conference on Tuesday (March 21) during his state visit to Vietnam, the largest of its kind for a number of years.

The president was joined at the gathering in Hanoi by an Israeli delegation of business leaders headed by Shraga Brosh, president of the Israel Manufacturers Association, partnering with the International Trade division of the Ministry of Economics.

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The Vietnamese economy is showing a seven percent annual growth and with significant foreign investment has become a central player in global supply. The country has a population of about 95 million people.

The Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist is expected to sign a research and development agreement with the Vietnamese National Technology Innovation Fund during the visit.

According to statistics from the Israeli Economy Ministry, Israeli exports to Vietnam are growing quickly, and stood in 2015 at around $1.8 billion, while exports in the opposite direction stood at around $600 million – a figure which has grown around 15 percent over the last four years – with around half of that amount coming from electronic devices.

Other leading areas of trade are textiles, food produce and agriculture. The potential for Israeli exports to Vietnam in the coming years is expected to be focused on advances in agriculture, and communications and medical equipment.

The president also participated in the signing ceremony of a Memorandum Of Understanding for Israeli-Vietnamese cooperation, in the fields of electricity, health, and community development.

Rivlin then met with Vietnamese Minister of Defense Ngô Xuân Lịch, after which both he and the Minister toured an exhibition of Israeli defense products on display in Hanoi. Also participating in the tour was the delegation of senior Israeli defense industry figures who accompanied the President on his visit, led by Director General of the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense Brig. Gen. (res.) Michel Ben-Baruch.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.