Ireland makes flurry of deals with Vietnam

Enterprise Ireland says country offers ‘fantastic opportunities’

President Michael D Higgins is greeted by a group of children as he visits the Mine Action Visitors Centre in Quang Tri as part of his state visit to Vietnam. Video: Clifford Coonan

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This week has seen a flurry of deals between Ireland and Vietnam during the eight-day State visit by President Michael D Higgins. Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon says the southeast Asian nation offers “fantastic opportunities” for Irish companies.

“It’s a market that has grown by 50 per cent in the past year, and one that we think provides significant future opportunities,” she said, speaking on the fringes of an Enterprise Ireland business lunch addressed by President Higgins and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan.

“We have 60 Irish companies doing business in this region, 15 of them have a presence here, so it’s massive to bring the President and the Minister in terms of developing new relationships with their customers and providing an opportunity for them to consolidate relationships,”she said.

“The food sector is very important. Annova has signed a deal with Glanbia to bring in UHT milk and they are already doing business with Kerry on the milk formula side. Ireland is seen as a trusted place in terms of our quality standards and sustainability.”

Ireland’s third-level colleges are active in seeking out opportunities in Vietnam. Trinity College Dublin signed up with the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) for an undergraduate bachelor of business studies programme, which will see Vietnamese students spending their first two years at UEH and their second two years at Trinity.

“Our Trinity specialist business degree is a unique programme, designed for students who focus on business from the very beginning of their degree,” said Prof Juliette Hussey, vice-president of global relations at Trinity.

The Trinity centre for biodiversity research signed a deal with the Vietnam National Museum of Nature.

Post-graduate programmes

Earlier in the week University College Cork president Michael Murphy signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam National University to assist in the creation of new undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and research.

Dublin Institute of Technology did a deal with Hue University in central Vietnam, while Cork Institute of Technology signed a deal with Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and with the University of Danang.

“Education is a big area. There are 120,000 people from Vietnam who go overseas to be educated, largely to English-speaking countries, and Ireland would be keen to get a good portion of those people going forward,” said Ms Sinnamon.

During the week Mainstream Renewable Power signed a contract to develop 940MW of wind energy projects in Vietnam. The deal involves a combined investment injection by Mainstream and developers of around €2 billion.

The first phase of projects being jointly developed by GE Energy Financial Services and Mainstream Renewable Power will result in the largest wind farm in Vietnam with total capacity of 800MW.

Energy projects

“Investing in Vietnam is very much aligned with our aim of developing large scale renewable energy projects in high-growth economies with significant demand for new-build power generation,” said Mainstream’s chief operating officer Andy Kinsella.

In Hanoi in the early part of President Higgins’s visit Novaerus signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Vinamedical for its Novaerus plasma air technology system.

“Particularly with Brexit, markets like ASEAN [southeast Asia] are very important, and Vietnam is a great base to enter into and supply the region from,” said Ms Sinnamon.

Botany Weaving has done a deal with one of the air carriers in the region to supply interiors for aircraft. “Obviously the growth of the aviation sector in this market is massive. Park Aviation is doing a deal with Jetstar. There are opportunities from technologies to furnishing to leasing.”

The Dublin-headquartered software company Escher Group and FPT Information Systems signed a deal with Vietnam Posts, while Anam Technologies, Ericsson Vietnam and Vietnamobile signed a contract for SMS technology support services.

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