On the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Germany, The Vietnam Economic News spoke with German Ambassador Jutta Frasch about the strategic partnership between both countries. The strategic partnership was established in 2011 with the " Declaration of Hanoi " signed by both heads of government, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

* Could you tell us more about economic relations between Vietnam and Germany?

The strategic partnership between our two countries was formed in 2011 by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in signing the " Declaration of Hanoi " . This declaration has laid a vital foundation for the strengthening of our bilateral cooperation in all fields.

In 2012, trade turnover between Vietnam and Germany surpassed 9 billion USD, an increase of 22 percent compared to 2011. Vietnamese exports to Germany rose by 27.7 percent, reaching 6.75 billion USD while imports from Germany rose by 9.9 percent, reaching 2.49 billion USD.

I strongly believe that these figures will increase in the future, as Vietnam and the EU plan to sign an FTA on goods, services, investment and protection of intellectual property rights by 2014. Once the FTA takes effect, tariffs on agricultural products, footwear, garment and other goods will be cut to zero.

Total registered capital from German companies reached more than 1 billion USD, bringing Germany to 22nd position in nations and territories investing in Vietnam. Additional capital from German companies reached 188.77 million USD in 2012.

In terms of development cooperation, ODA (Official Development Assistance) capital that Germany committed as new aid for Vietnam in the 2012-2013 period reached 375.7 million USD, with almost all projects focusing on three key fields, including vocational training, environmental protection and energy security. This will help Vietnam implement its green growth strategy, and ensure the nation’s development in accordance with the environment and social needs.

* What are your comments on the efficiency of bilateral cooperation projects?

I would like to mention the German House in Ho Chi Minh City, which serves as a symbol for the strong development of our bilateral ties. The German House will be built on a very attractive plot in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City by a private investor. After the German House is built, the German Consulate General will move into the building together with German companies and cultural institutions. The house will become a meeting place for the German and Vietnamese.

German firms are also involved in extending the city rail network in Ho Chi Minh City. This project receives financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the German Development Bank (KfW) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) with a total capital of 1.3 billion USD, including 340 million USD from Germany.

The project’s purpose is to create a safe and convenient transport system for passengers as well as enhance economic growth of the city.

Our collaboration in the field of vocational training is developing well. The German model on linking universities and enterprises remains popular and successful in our country and the world. In Germany, students study in school and at the same time they are trained in a business.

I believe that this model can also benefit Vietnam. In January 2013, Bosh Vietnam and the Lilama 2 Technical and Technological College concluded a cooperation agreement. In March, a Memorandum of Understanding on vocational training was signed between the two governments. This MoU aimed at improving the skills of the Vietnamese labour force in the context of international integration.

* On the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Germany, what messages would you like to convey to our readers?

The establishment of our strategic partnership in 2011 has opened a new chapter for our bilateral ties in all fields, especially trade, investment and development cooperation. As you have witnessed in the past two years, many substantial and impressive achievements were reached. This is proof for the steady growth of ties between our two nations. Vietnam wants to become an industrialised country by 2020 and Germany, with its knowledge and expertise, always supports Vietnam in the implementation process.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Vietnam will work closely together with Vietnamese partners to efficiently implement what the two sides committed to in the " Declaration of Hanoi " in order to benefit both our countries.-VNA