The Vietnamese and Swiss Governments inked an agreement in Hanoi on May 31 to cement their cooperation in improving export competitiveness of Vietnam’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a local trade promotion system in the 2013-2016 period.

The four-year programme, valued at 3.89 million USD, will enhance the skills and capacity of trade promotion agencies and trade supporting organisations in three regions.

It is expected to help SMEs improve their efficiency by exporting products with more added value rather than those with low labour costs.

The programme is built on the basis of the outcomes of the VIE 61/94 project funded by the Swiss and Swedish Governments, which focuses on supporting trade promotion and export development in Vietnam in the 2004-2010 period.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh affirmed that Vietnam has taken steps to participate in the global supply chain with value-added products and services.

He highlighted the increasingly important role of SMEs and expressed his hope that the programme will help local firms tackle difficulties in their efforts to increase their participation in the country’s export development.

Through the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swiss Government has supported Vietnam ’s sustainable economic development since 1993.

In the framework of its new national strategy for Vietnam from 2013-2016, SECO has reaffirmed its commitment to support Vietnam in the long-term to help it achieve comprehensive and sustainable growth.-VNA