Chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung on March 16 left Hanoi to attend the 130 th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of IPU President Abdel Wahad Radi.

Since joining the IPU in April 1979, Vietnam has actively taken part in the organisation’s activities, which mainly focus on global peace and security and sustainable development.

Along with its engagement in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Vietnam ’s National Assembly has gained a firm position in the multilateral parliamentary channel at both regional and international levels.

Representatives of the Vietnamese legislature have been elected as representatives of the Asia-Pacific Political Geography Group at the IUP Executive Committee.

In any post, the Vietnam legislative body has proven itself as a responsible member with significant contributions to the country’s parliamentary diplomacy as well as State diplomacy.

Besides attending the 130 th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, NA Chairman Hung is also expected to pay an official visit to Switzerland at the invitation Switzerland’s House of Representatives.

Recently, Vietnam and Switzerland have seen their trade ties develop rapidly, especially since the Southeast Asian country joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Statistics released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that two-way trade between the countries in 2013 exceeded 700 million USD.

Vietnam mainly exports footwear, coffee, garments and textiles, bags, umbrellas and decorations to the country while importing precious metals, machinery, chemicals and medicines.

Switzerland ranks 18 th out of the 101 countries and territories investing in Vietnam , with about 90 businesses operating in 12 Vietnamese localities.

Vietnam is one of the eight countries that have received development aid from Switzerland .

Switzerland has so far granted about 360 million USD to help Vietnam in environment, human resources improvement, urban and rural development and poverty reduction.

In September last year, Switzerland announced a new development cooperation strategy with Vietnam during the 2013-2016 period, under which the aid is valued at 136 million USD.

Bilateral cooperation in other sectors such as banking, tourism, culture, science and technology has also yielded significant fruit.

Italy is another country NA Chairman Hung will visit at the invitation of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

Vietnam and Italy set up diplomatic ties in March 23, 1973. Three decades later, the two countries signed a joint statement on the establishment of a strategic partnership on January 21, 2013 during a State-level visit to Italy by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

According to the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment, in August 2013, Italy ranked 29 th among 100 countries and territories investing in Vietnam , with 50 projects worth more than 257 million USD.

Italy has provided official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam since the 1980s, focusing on irrigation, environmental protection, human resources development and healthcare.-VNA