Vietnam-Switzerland relations thriving: Ambassador hinh anh 1Ambassador Le Linh Lan (Source: VNA) 
Geneva (VNA) - Relations between Vietnam and Switzerland have developed fruitfully over the past five decades, especially in politics-diplomacy, trade-investment, development cooperation, and education-training, Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland Le Linh Lan has said.

Speaking with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (1971-2021) and 30 years of the Vietnam-Switzerland development cooperation programme, the ambassador said the two sides have maintained high-level delegations and exchanges on the fringes of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).

Vietnam and Switzerland have also effectively cooperated and supported each other within international organisations and international multilateral forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN, and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

They have agreed to support each other when running for seats at many international organisations, most notably non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Lan said.

A responsible member of ASEAN, Vietnam has also backed Switzerland to become the grouping’s sectoral dialogue partner since 2016, she went on.

The two countries have shared views on international issues relating to peace, stability, respect for law, and the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Regarding bilateral economic ties, Lan said two-way trade grows 15-20 percent each year, hitting over 3.6 billion USD in 2019. Switzerland is an increasingly important partner for Vietnam, while the Southeast Asian country is Switzerland’s fourth-largest trade partner in ASEAN.

As of 2020, Switzerland had 152 valid projects worth nearly 2 billion USD in Vietnam, ranking it 19th out of 132 countries and territories investing in the country and becoming the sixth-largest European investor in the country.

The ambassador also highlighted bilateral cooperation in education and training, saying the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in innovation and creativity during the visit to Switzerland by Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh in October 2019.

Regarding the feasibility of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Lan said Swiss leaders have repeatedly expressed their hope of speeding up negotiations towards the signing of the deal, to facilitate economic recovery in the two countries and deal with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She stressed that Swiss projects on development cooperation have significantly contributed to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, as the latter is on a path towards becoming a modern industrialised country with upper middle incomes.

Lan said she believes that the two countries still have great opportunities and momentum to advance their cooperation, given Vietnam’s elevated position in the global production chain as well as its engagement in new-generation FTAs like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The early conclusion and signing of the FTA between Vietnam and the EFTA would create a driver to boost bilateral trade ties and attract quality Swiss investment in Vietnam, especially in sustainable development, innovation, creativity, and digital transformation, the ambassador said./.