Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pham Hai Bang (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam-Switzerland relationship has grown strongly in various fields over the past years, stated Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Pham Hai Bang.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on their bilateral ties, the diplomat said that in terms of politics, senior leaders from both sides have held regular visits and meetings, while also coordinating closely in international forums, especially within ASEAN, ASEM, and Francophone meet-ups.

Switzerland has supported Vietnam’s run for a seat at the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure, while Vietnam has similarly backed Switzerland’s candidacy for the council in the 2023-2024 tenure.

Political and human rights consultations have been regularly implemented by the two foreign affairs ministries.

In the field of economics, Ambassador Bang cited statistics from Switzerland’s customs agency showing that two-way trade over the past five years reached over 7.9 billion CHF (7.92 billion USD), with Vietnam enjoying a trade surplus.

Switzerland is the third largest European investor in Vietnam with direct investment totalling nearly 2 billion USD.  In the 2017-2020 period, the Swiss Government committed 90 million CHF in official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam.

During Swiss Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications Doris Leuthard’s Hanoi visit in April 2018, the two sides signed a new aviation transport deal that will allow Swiss airline Edelweiss Air to open a direct route linking Zurich and Ho Chi Minh City from this November, creating opportunities for bilateral tourism and trade cooperation, said Bang.

The Ambassador highlighted that Vietnam and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), of which Switzerland is a member, are negotiating a free trade agreement.

Once the agreement is signed, economic and trade collaboration between Vietnam and Switzerland, as well as other members of the EFTA, is expected to expand strongly, he stated. –VNA