Extending Vietnam-Switzerland cooperation and friendship

At the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas is paying an official visit to Vietnam from June 27-30. The visit demonstrates Switzerland's respect for Vietnam and is also an important parliamentary diplomacy activity as it resumes high-level delegation exchanges between the two countries following the COVID-19 pandemic.
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (right) receives President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas. (Photo: VNA)
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (right) receives President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas. (Photo: VNA)

Located in Central Europe, Switzerland is a peaceful and beautiful country that pursues a neutral foreign policy and one of the world’s leading countries in terms of industrial production and high living standard. Switzerland is the world's major banking and insurance centre with many famous banks and insurance companies gathering in ZurichCity.

Over the past half-century of cooperation, despite the distant geographical distance and historical events and ups and downs, the relationship between Vietnam and Switzerland has been constantly cultivated and developed. The two countries have achieved positive cooperation results in many fields, from politics-diplomacy and economics-trade to culture, education, science, and technology. The exchanges and meetings of delegations at high levels and all levels is a testament to the good long-standing friendship between the two countries.

In February 2023, the Swiss Government approved the Southeast Asia Strategy for the 2023-2026 period, aiming to strengthen and deepen its relations with Southeast Asia, in which, Vietnam is considered a dynamic economy in the region and is an increasingly important partner of Switzerland.

The parliamentary friendship and cooperation between the two countries have developed positively. The parliaments of the two countries have regularly conducted high-level contacts and exchange of experiences. The Vietnam-Switzerland Friendship Parliamentarians' Group was formed and has implemented many activities to promote parliamentary relations and cooperation between the two countries.

At multilateral forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF), the two sides have often closely coordinated and consulted on international and regional issues.

In general, economic cooperation between the two countries has developed strongly. In 2019, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, their bilateral trade turnover had reached more than 2.8 billion USD. However, due to the impact of the pandemic, the turnover only reached about 806 million USD in 2022.

Switzerland ranks 22nd in terms of foreign direct investment in Vietnam with 206 valid projects and a total registered capital of about 1.9 billion USD. The two sides are promoting the early conclusion of the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), thereby creating a bright prospect in bilateral trade relations, especially with the pandemic now under control and the world economy in recovery.

Vietnam continues to be one of the few countries among the prioritised cooperation partners of Switzerland. In March 2021, Switzerland announced the Switzerland-Vietnam Development Cooperation Programme for the 2021-2024 period with an official development assistance (ODA) capital of about 76 million USD.

In 2023, Switzerland will increase investment in advanced industrial projects, high technology, and modern management to help connect global production and supply chains. Development cooperation projects funded by Switzerland both bilaterally and multilaterally have been actively carried out towards the realisation of Vietnam's sustainable development goals.

Cooperation in the fields such as education-training and science-technology are also outstanding highlights.

Switzerland is well known as a prestigious training centre in the fields of banking, tourism, insurance, and high technology.

Switzerland has actively helped Vietnam through support education projects on environment and management and training projects for masters and doctorates in finance, banking, and business administration.

The two countries signed an agreement on intellectual property protection and cooperation in the field of intellectual property, as well as the implementation of the Vietnam-Switzerland Special Cooperation Programme (SPC) on Intellectual Property and the Swiss-Vietnamese Intellectual Property Project (SVIP).

The Vietnamese community in Switzerland currently has about 8,000 people, more than half of whom have obtained Swiss citizenship but still retain Vietnamese citizenship. They have always tried to integrate well and been highly appreciated by the host government as they have made great contributions to building a bridge to boost the solidarity and friendship between the two countries.

The reception of President of the National Council of Switzerland Martin Candinas for an official visit to Vietnam affirmed Vietnam's consistent policy of always attaching importance to the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Switzerland. The visit shows the determination of the leaders from the two countries to deepen the close relationship and trust between Vietnam and Switzerland in various fields.