Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomes head of Switzerland’s Federation Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication Doris Leuthard (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has affirmed that Vietnam is keen on fostering the friendship with Switzerland and hopes the two countries will continue bolstering cooperation in all fields, especially trade and investment.

The PM made the statement while meeting the visiting Director of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication Doris Leuthard in Hanoi on April 3 after their previous meeting in January 2017 when the PM joined the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He welcomed the two countries’ signing of agreements to support each other at multilateral forums.

Leuthard showed her impression at Vietnam’s growth as well as delight at the progress of the ties between the two countries over the past years.

She expressed her hope that negotiations for a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will be finalised this year after seven years, so that the deal can be signed soon, opening up new cooperation prospects in tourism, trade and investment.

She said that many Swiss firms are accompanying her in this visit to seek investment and business opportunities, especially in pharmaceuticals, a strong sector of Switzerland.

She also had working sessions with the Vietnamese side on environment, climate change, and biodiversity to explore cooperation potential.

Sharing the Swiss official’s hope to speed up the conclusion of negotiations for the Vietnam-EFTA free trade agreement, PM Phuc said that relevant parties should soon sign the deal. Along with a direct air route between Vietnam and Switzerland this year, the deal will bring about big chances to promote investment, trade and tourism partnership between the two sides, he stressed.

He also underscored that Vietnam welcomes Swiss firms to expand cooperation in Vietnam, pledging that the Vietnamese Government will continue improving the investment environment and creating optimal conditions for foreign firms, including those from Switzerland, especially in finance-banking, manufacturing industry and pharmaceuticals.

The Government leader proposed that Switzerland should share experience with Vietnam and support the country in building a high-quality education system and combining science-technology research-training.

He also suggested that Switzerland increase scholarships for Vietnamese students, especially in justice, banking, high technology, and tourism, while strengthening the exchange of students and lecturers as well as cooperation in scientific research.-VNA