German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official visit to Vietnam from October 11-12 is expected to further boost the intensive development of the Vietnam-Germany relations in all fields.

The Vietnam-Germany friendship and cooperation have seen effective and comprehensive developments since the two countries set up diplomatic ties on September 23, 1975.

The mutual trust and understanding between the two countries have been further strengthened through maintaining the exchange of high-ranking delegations and a political consultation mechanism between the two Foreign Ministries that was established in 2008.

To date, the two countries have signed a number of agreements as legal foundations for the bilateral economic cooperation such as the Agreements on Double Taxation Avoidance, Investment Encouragement and Protection, Maritime Shipping and Aviation.

Germany is now Vietnam ’s largest trade partner in Europe , accounting for 19 percent of the country’s total export turnover to the EU. Germany is an important gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter other European markets.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnam’s exports to Germany reached 1.8 billion USD, representing a year-on-year increase of 42 percent, while its imports from the European country was 1.1 billion USD, up 14 percent.

Vietnam mainly exports footwear, garment, coffee beans, woodwork, seafood and leather products to Germany while importing machines, equipment, autos, pharmaceuticals and chemicals from this nation.

However, Germany ’s investment in Vietnam remains modest with 167 valid projects capitalised at nearly 864 million USD by August 2011, ranking 24 among 92 countries and territories investing in Vietnam .

German investment focuses on processing, manufacturing, power production and distribution, agro-forestry-fisheries, banking and insurance. Most projects are located in Ho Chi Minh City , Hanoi , the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

Vietnamese businesses have so far had 14 projects in Germany with a total registered capital of nearly 31 million USD.

Germany is one of the largest official development assistance (ODA) providers for Vietnam , focusing on economic reform, sustainable economic development, environmental policies, the sustainable use of natural resources, health, family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention.

In 1990, Vietnam and Germany signed an Agreement on Cultural Cooperation, creating a premise for boosting the cultural cooperation and exchanges between the two nations, including performance tours by Vietnamese art troupes.

The educational and training cooperation between the two countries has also recorded goods results with Germany ’s provision of many MA and PhD scholarships for Vietnam per year. The two sides are actively implementing a programme to train 85 Vietnamese postgraduates per year in the German state of Hessen./.