National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan welcomes President of the Council of States of Switzerland Ivo Bischofberger (Photo: VNA)
Hano​i (VNA) – National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has proposed Switzerland continue encouraging its businesses to invest in Vietnam, especially in the fields of finance, banking, insurance, high technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, farm produce processing, tourism, and restaurant-hotel services.

Chairwoman Ngan made the proposal during her talks with President of the Council of States of Switzerland Ivo Bischofberger in Hanoi on March 29 after hosting an official welcome ceremony for the Swiss leader.

Switzerland is an important economic partner of Vietnam in Europe, she said, citing the two-way trade value exceeded 1 billion USD in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 50 percent.

The top legislator thanked the Swiss parliament and government for their promise to provide 90 million USD in official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam in the 2017 – 2020 period, and suggested the two sides work together closely to effectively use this aid package.

She expressed her delight at the growing bilateral relationship, particularly in politics, diplomacy, trade, investment and development cooperation, and called on the two nations to push ahead with the exchange of delegations at all-level and cooperation at multilateral forums to increase their mutual understanding and political trust.

A range of activities were held in 2016 to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties, including Vietnam Day in Switzerland, she noted.

For his part, Bischofberger said his visit to Vietnam through March 31 aims to bolster the friendship between the two legislative bodies and contribute to furthering the multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Switzerland.

Switzerland has stood side by side with Vietnam since the early 1990s, he said, adding that as one of the four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Switzerland always supports negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, which is expected to create a legal corridor and open up investment and cooperation opportunities and trade exchanges for businesses from the member nations.

Bischofberger stressed that Swiss enterprises are interested in investing in Vietnam, and hoped that the Southeast Asian country will create a favourable legal framework and business climate for them.

During the talks, the two sides also shared experience in environmental protection. Vietnam proposed Switzerland provide technical support in building laws in the field.

They agreed to strengthen cooperation in education and training. Vietnam called Switzerland to increase the number of scholarships for Vietnamese students to pursue study in major fields such as law, banking, high technology and tourism, while Switzerland affirmed to open vocational training courses for Vietnam.

The two sides consented to increase the exchange of visits by high-ranking delegations, committees and friendship parliamentarians groups to share experience in parliamentary operations, laying a foundation for the development of practical and effective cooperation in all fields.

Having spoken highly of the Vietnamese community’s role in Switzerland, Ngan suggested the Swiss parliament and government to create optimal conditions for them to live and work stably in the country.

President Bischofberger took this occasion to invite the Vietnamese top legislator to soon pay an official visit to Switzerland.

Earlier on the same day, the Swiss delegation laid a wreath and paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum, and visited Uncle Ho’s Stilt House.-VNA