Prospects for Cooperation Between Vietnam, Switzerland and UK
|Ambassador Ivo Sieber (right) and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son on the two countries' 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, November 24, 2021. Photo: VNP|
Vietnam-Switzerland economic and trade cooperation
The prospect of becoming a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the term 2023-2024 will create opportunities for Switzerland to strengthen cooperation with other countries. This is to reinforce multilateralism and the responsibility to respect international law, which is a principle for the prosperous development of Switzerland and Vietnam, said Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Ivo Sieber.
Ambassador Ivo Sieber said that besides sharing the principle of respecting international law, Vietnam and Switzerland have potential for complementary cooperation, contributing to strengthening bilateral relations in the coming time.
According to Ivo Sieber, the relationship between Switzerland and Vietnam is a strong motivation for the two countries to accelerate the process of completing the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (ETFA includes Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
The completion of the FTA signing will boost the potential for cooperation between Switzerland and Vietnam. It also opens up trade opportunities for businesses of the two countries, and creates an attractive investment environment in Vietnam, the Swiss Ambassador said.
Ivo Sieber said that currently more than 100 Swiss businesses are operating in Vietnam, with a total investment of US$2 billion, creating more than 20,000 jobs. However, there is still a lot of room for cooperation in the fields of economy and trade. Switzerland is ASEAN's 9th largest foreign investor but only 19th in Vietnam.
He said the two countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in education, science and innovation through development support packages such as the cooperation strategy with Vietnam for the period 2021-2024 of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
|Switzerland gifted the Geneva Conference Room to the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.|
UKVFTA brings advantages to Vietnamese-UK businesses
UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said Vietnam and the UK have opportunities to cooperate in realizing green growth goals.
According to Ambassador Gareth Ward, while Vietnam is facing challenges related to climate change such as saltwater intrusion and extreme weather, this dynamic economy still needs a lot of energy to maintain the growth rate.
“In that context, coming up with an appropriate climate change response policy is indeed a big challenge,” said the UK Ambassador.
|UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward. Photo: VNA|
Therefore, Ambassador Gareth Ward said he was impressed by the strong commitments made by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in the UK last November.
In his speech at COP26, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that as a developing country, Vietnam has just begun to industrialize over the past three decades.
|According to Ambassador Gareth Ward, there are many British companies expressing their desire to invest in solar power and wind power, helping Vietnam to green the economy.|
The Ambassador said that to support developing countries like Vietnam, the international community, including the UK, has made financial commitments. The UK has announced a new funding source for the ASEAN Green Climate Fund, providing effective investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector as well as funding green financial mechanisms.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets the Prince of Wales. Photo: VNP|
Looking back at the strategic partnership between the UK and Vietnam in 2021, a difficult year for both countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ambassador said that "the relationship between the two sides has progressed in many aspects such as politics, security, and economics.”
According to Ambassador Gareth Ward, both a member of the United Nations Security Council, the UK and Vietnam also regularly discuss global security issues. The highlight of the bilateral relationship in the past year was that the two countries promoted the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which officially took effect on May 1, 2021.
Data from Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade show that bilateral trade last year reached more than US$6 billion. Vietnam's export turnover to the UK increased by 16.4% and imports from the UK increased by 23.6% compared to 2020 when the UKVFTA had not been implemented.
“The above figures show that UKVFTA has been bringing many opportunities to businesses of the two countries,” said Ambassador Gareth Ward. According to the roadmap, 65% of tariff lines will be removed immediately after UKVFTA comes into effect, and 99% of tariff lines will be removed according to the roadmap from 6 to 9 years.
|Representatives of Vietnam and the UK confirmed the effective date of the UKVFTA agreement. Photo: VNP|
Ambassador Gareth Ward said this is a "great" time for businesses of the two countries to import and export. He also said that in the UK there are many "unicorn start-ups" valued at US$1 billion in the technology, e-commerce or financial technology sectors.
Meanwhile, e-commerce in Vietnam in 2021 has increased by over 50% compared to 2020, much higher than other industries. The Ambassador said that the UK wants to share experiences with Vietnam in this potential field.
|Vietnam received the Covid-19 vaccine from the British Government. Photo: VNP|
Together with Vietnam in the fight against Covid-19, the Ambassador said that the UK has sponsored more than 700,000 doses of vaccines for Vietnam and will have more vaccines delivered to Vietnam under the COVAX mechanism. The UK also sponsors equipment for Vietnamese hospitals.
Ambassador Gareth Ward said the UK is committed to accompanying Vietnam in pandemic prevention and control and will continue to cooperate with Vietnam in science and health, especially in monitoring virus variants.
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