Wikileaks: Vietnamese consul: Labor agreements with Qatar "just paper"
Published: 03 Nov 2009
Posted in:  Qatar | Vietnam | Wikileaks
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Viewing cable 09DOHA651, VIETNAMESE CONSUL: LABOR AGREEMENTS WITH QATAR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09DOHA651 2009-11-03 10:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha
	VZCZCXRO7069
PP RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
Original_wl_hour_glass_small
	DE RUEHDO #0651/01 3071052
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031052Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9470
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 0001
	C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 000651 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2019 
TAGS: PREL ELAB KTIP VM QA
SUBJECT: VIETNAMESE CONSUL: LABOR AGREEMENTS WITH QATAR 
"JUST PAPER' 
 
REF: A. DOHA 545 
     B. DOHA 595 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron for reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
-------------- 
(C) KEY POINTS 
-------------- 
 
-- During an October 29 meeting with Poloff Caudill, 
Vietnamese consul Mau Tien Dong dismissed as symbolic ("just 
paper") the February labor agreement between his country and 
Qatar under which the GOQ agreed to accept 25,000 Vietnamese 
workers (Ref A). 
 
-- He stated that there are 1,750 Vietnamese working in 
Qatar, and that he did not expect that number to increase in 
the near future. 
 
-- He also described as "limited" the Qatari market for 
Vietnamese agricultural products.  He was more optimistic, 
however, over the prospects of Qatari investment in Vietnam. 
 
-- Mau said the projected opening of a Qatari embassy in 
Hanoi by the end of the year remains on target, but that the 
opening of a consulate in Ho Chi Minh City would be delayed. 
 
------------ 
(C) COMMENTS 
------------ 
 
-- Mau's analysis of Qatar as a destination for Vietnamese 
labor confirms the Embassy's belief that the optimistic 
public statements of its former Ambassador and senior 
Vietnamese visitors greatly overstated the case.  Although 
Qatar has not suffered as badly as some of its Gulf neighbors 
from the global economic downturn, its need for cheap sources 
of labor seems to have stabilized.  Moreover, to the extent 
that it needs foreign labor, Qatar has found in Nepal a rich 
source ready to export its workers to Doha. 
 
-- We should not be misled by Mau's pessimism over the future 
of agriculture exports and his optimism over the possibility 
of Qatari investment; they go hand in hand.  Qatar is in the 
process of formulating a national strategy for food security 
that we expect to shift from a focus on land ownership in 
developing countries to land leases and joint ventures with 
the private sector in developed countries (Ref B).  It is 
likely that one of the top agenda items for the team at the 
new Qatari embassy in Hanoi will be to initiate a partnership 
designed to bolster Qatar's food security. 
 
End Key Points and Comments. 
 
1. (C) At an October 28 meeting with Poloff Caudill, 
Vietnamese consul Mau Tien Dong called the labor agreement 
between his country and the GOQ "just paper".  He said that 
the February agreement under which the GOQ agreed to accept 
25,000 Vietnamese workers (Ref A) was merely a gesture of 
goodwill on the part of the two countries, and the success 
and structure of the Vietnamese economy made the prospects 
for an exodus to Doha very unlikely.  Mau pointed out that 
Qatar is in need of construction workers, and that the 
Vietnamese economy supplied sufficient jobs for construction 
workers there. 
 
2. (C) The Vietnamese consul estimated the size of the 
Vietnamese population in Qatar at 1,750, and predicted that 
the number would not rise significantly in the near future. 
This contradicted early press statements by then-Ambassador 
Phung The Long, which had placed the number at 8,000 (Ref A). 
 He said that any future influx of Vietnamese laborers into 
Qatar would be skilled workers.  He also noted that very few 
Qataris currently visit Vietnam, but expressed his optimism 
that tourism would increase as Qataris became educated about 
his country. 
 
3. (C) Mau was guarded in his assessment of the prospects for 
increased trade between Vietnam and Qatar.  He reiterated 
that Vietnam remains a primarily agricultural country, and 
that the Qatari market for its main product, rice, was 
limited.  "It takes a while for a country to become used to 
eating rice, and to the extent that the people here eat rice, 
India and the Philippines have already cornered the market", 
he said.  He was more optimistic when discussing the 
opportunities for Qatari financial investment in Vietnam. 
"They have money, and we have projects", he observed. 
 
4. (C) Mau also stepped back from the August announcement 
that Qatar would open a consulate in Ho Chi Minh City by the 
end of the year.  He said that while he was optimistic that 
 
DOHA 00000651  002 OF 002 
 
 
the Qatari embassy in Hanoi would open on schedule by year's 
end, the Ho Chi Minh City consulate might take more time.  He 
explained that both his government and the GOQ were focusing 
on opening the embassy, as it will foster more government to 
government ties relative to the consulate; this focus is 
causing the consulate project to slip. 
LeBaron
Source:Wikileaks