Vietnam, Switzerland Expected to Further Enhance Parliamentary Cooperation

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Hanoi (VNA) – President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas will pay an official visit to Vietnam from June 27-30 at the invitation of Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue.

The visit demonstrates Switzerland’s appreciation for Vietnam and serves as an important parliamentary diplomatic activity to resume high-level exchanges between the two countries following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Switzerland have been thriving over the past years. In terms of politics and diplomacy, the two sides have regularly maintained the exchange of high-level delegations and meetings.

However, due to COVID-19, two-way trade decreased 6.8% year on year to nearly 806 million USD in 2022.

Switzerland ranks 21st in terms of foreign direct investment in Vietnam, with 206 valid projects worth around 1.9 billion USD. The two sides are accelerating the conclusion of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

About development cooperation, Vietnam has remained one of the few countries in Switzerland’s list of priority partners. In March 2021, Switzerland announced the Switzerland-Vietnam Development Cooperation Programme for the 2021-2024 period, with an ODA budget of 78 million CHF (76 million USD).

In 2023, Switzerland is increasing its investment in advanced, hi-tech, clean industry and environmental projects with modern management that bring added value, global production chain connectivity and supply.

Switzerland expects Vietnam to create favourable conditions for its long-term operations in finance, banking, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agricultural processing, renewable energy and tourism.

The European country suggested Vietnam create favourable conditions regarding immigration and work permits for Swiss experts and businesses. In the private sector, Switzerland is ready to assist Vietnam in transitioning to a circular economy, which requires clear regulations on renewable energy, upgrade of the power grid, and allows modern waste management and recycling facilities.

Switzerland supports Vietnam and shares the same view of respecting international law, fairness, and equality at the United Nations, as well as promoting the role of women in peacebuilding through concrete actions.

The Vietnamese community in Switzerland now groups 8,000 people, more than half of them obtained Swiss citizenship but still retain their Vietnamese nationality. The Vietnamese Association in Switzerland and the Switzerland-Vietnam Friendship Association opened Binh Minh school in Zurich to teach Vietnamese language to the Vietnamese community.

The friendship and cooperation ties between the two legislatures have been growing, with regular high-level visits and meetings to share experience.

The Friendship Parliamentarians’ Groups of the two countries were established and carried out various activities to bolster parliamentary relations and bilateral cooperation.

The two sides have been regularly working together on global and regional issues at multilateral forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF).

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) before the visit, Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Thomas Gass stressed that Switzerland always values its friendship and cooperation with Vietnam, while also recognising Vietnam as an increasingly important economic partner. There is still ample room for further cooperation between the two countries.

He expressed wish to hasten talks on the Vietnam-EFTA Free Trade Agreement, enhance bilateral coordination to realise sustainable development goals in finance-banking, start-ups and entrepreneurship, sci-tech, education-training, tourism, climate change adaptation, and people-to-people exchanges, which are the topics to be discussed with Vietnamese leaders during Candinas’ visit.

Source : Vietnam+