WEF - Opportunity for Vietnam to Demonstrate International Commitments: Swiss Ambassador

According to Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam Thomas Gass, the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum will offer a wonderful opportunity for Vietnam to demonstrate its international commitments and call for support from investors to its efforts.
January 22, 2024 | 09:21

Following the invitations of World Economic Forum (WEF) Founder and Chairman Klaus Schwab, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and Romanian Prime Minister Ion-Marcel Ciolacu, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and the delegation of Vietnamese high-ranking officials, will attend the 54th Annual Conference of the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. Within the framework of this working trip, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will pay an official visit to Hungary and Romania from January 16 to January 23, 2024.

On this occasion, Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam Thomas Gass remarked in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency ahead of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's upcoming trip to Davos.

Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam Thomas Gass. (Photo: VNA)
Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam Thomas Gass. (Photo: VNA)

How does Switzerland, the host country of the world's leading Economic Forum, assess the Vietnamese Prime Minister's attendance at this Forum?

Amidst global upheavals, the WEF serves as a platform for leaders from countries and sectors to seek solutions and affirm their responsibility for the implementation of common visions, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

It also encourages pioneers to put in place positive initiatives, and recommitments to multilateralism and the international rule of law, the establishment and upgrade of new platforms for dialogues, and the building of stronger partnerships.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s participation at the WEF-54 is a meaningful activity. At the WEF in China last June, Prime Minister Chinh said that international solidarity, multilateralism, and people-centered would help the world weather “headwinds”.

The Vietnamese Prime Minister can deliver remarks completely with self-confidence at the upcoming meeting as Vietnam has made remarkable contributions to addressing global issues, and the country deserves international acknowledgment.

As an active member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam plays a crucial role in promoting regional stability and cooperation, he said, noting its engagement in UN peacekeeping operations, including those in South Sudan and Central African Republic.

Vietnam has taken important steps to cut its carbon footprint, towards achieving its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, the country is making efforts to raise its climate resilience by implementing a national action plan and measures to protect the vulnerable in this regard.

Vietnam is also working hard to improve its energy security by investing in renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy.

How would you rate Vietnam's implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vietnam and the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the 2023-2026 period?

The memorandum of understanding between Vietnam and the WEF for the 2023-2026 period will enable Vietnam to access international resources and expertise. Besides, Vietnam can join WEF programs globally.

Efforts by Vietnamese competent agencies in reforming administrative procedures have improved education quality, developed human resources, and promoted the digital economy, as reflected by the increasing FDI influx in the country.

However, Vietnam still needs to exert greater efforts to maintain its competitive edge.

In addition, the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City is working with the World Economic Forum to establish the Center for Industrial Revolution 4.0 in Ho Chi Minh City to address concerns of circular economy and digitalization.

Vietnam and Switzerland will celebrate 53 years of diplomatic relations this year. Could you tell us about recent achievements in bilateral ties and the significance of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's attendance at the World Economic Forum for this bilateral relationship?

Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to officially recognize the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) in 1971, and the bilateral relationship has been developing dynamically, with its focus shifting from economic development cooperation to trade.

Switzerland welcomes positive progress in negotiations on the free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Vietnam. Once coming into effect, the deal will create a favorable framework and pave the way for Swiss investments in Vietnam, thus fostering bilateral trade.

Furthermore, Vietnam’s foreign policy and dynamic economic environment, which has prompted many countries to seek the upgrade of their partnerships with Vietnam.

I hope that the Vietnam-Switzerland relations will be upgraded in the time ahead. Therefore, I am making efforts to push ahead with the progress.

Switzerland's main exports to Vietnam include pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery, and precision mechanics, while its imports from the Southeast Asian country are electronics, footwear, textiles-garments, and seafood.

Since 2008, economic development cooperation between the two countries has focused on improving public finance, enhancing the capacity of the financial sector, raising the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises, urban planning, climate adaptation, and sustainable growth.

Besides, the two sides have maintained cooperation in science-technology and delegation exchange, which was shown in the latest visit to Vietnam by President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas last June.

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