Permanent Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem (R) and Swiss Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications Doris Leuthard (Source: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) – Permanent Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem hosted a reception in the city on April 6 for Swiss Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications Doris Leuthard.

Speaking highly of Switzerland’s role in negotiating a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) comprising Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, Liem expressed his belief that both sides will soon complete negotiations to facilitate bilateral trade.

He said the city is building a high-tech energy system to ensure rapid and sustainable development, and calling on domestic and foreign firms to turn wastes into energy.

The host suggested clean water supply, transportation and seaports as potential cooperative fields to bring mutual benefits.

Liem affirmed that the city supports the issuance of e-visas for Swiss aircrew and citizens, especially in the context that the Zurich – Ho Chi Minh City direct flights are to open in late 2018.

Leuthard, for her part, expressed her hope that the Vietnam – EFTA free trade agreement will be signed in late 2018.

According to her, Swiss enterprises are experienced in building smart cities and wished to work with the city on sub-component projects involving energy, transportation, seaports, clean water supply, smart technology and sewage treatment.

She wished to receive the city’s support in e-visa issuance to facilitate aviation, tourism and trade between the two countries.

Switzerland now ranks 11th out of 96 countries and territories investing in the city with 67 projects. Two-way trade between Ho Chi Minh City and Switzerland reached 25 million USD last year.-VNA