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Oct 11, 2021 / 19:46

10 years of Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership: momentum for next decades

The 10-year partnership will enable both countries to maintain the development momentum in the next decades as they share mutual interests, support each other in various areas.

Substantive cooperation between Vietnam and Germany in the past 10 years has resulted in both enhanced political relations and further economic ties with impressive trade values.

The effective partnership after 10 years since the two countries upgraded the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership on October 11, 2011, has made Germany the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe and Vietnam the leading trade partner of Germany in ASEAN.

 Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sept 24 in New York on the sidelines of the UN Security Council's 76th session. Photo: VNA 

Fruitful results

The 10-year partnership will enable both countries to maintain the development momentum in the next decades as they share mutual interests, support each other in various areas, and benefit from the cooperation, according to Dr. Guido Hildner, German Ambassador to Vietnam.

Specifically, in July 2021, Vietnam and Germany initiated the Group of Friends of UNCLOS (the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) as both underline the importance of UNCLOS as “a constitution for the seas” and regard the international rules-based order as determining for the co-existence everywhere – on land, in space, in the cyber world, and at sea.

Currently, Berlin and Hanoi are important members of the regions and advance the regional approach and collaboration, Dr. Hildner said.

Vietnam has been closer to the EU thanks to the European Union–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) that took effect in August 2020 and Germany shows its clear commitments to enhancing its engagement in Southeast Asia through Germany’s “Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific” released in September 2020.

The two sides contributed to the upgrading of the ASEAN-EU relations to a strategic partnership in 2020 when both Hanoi and Berlin were non-permanent members of the United National Security Council and Vietnam worked as Chair of ASEAN 2020 while Germany held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the same year.

For the past years, Vietnam has appeared to be an important partner in German development assistance, becoming Germany’s “global partner”. The status shows how much the strategic partnership means.

Three key issues namely environmental protection, energy/climate, and vocational training show how fruitful the cooperation has been for the past decade.

Especially, cooperation in the health sector over the past time has shown Germany’s substantive assistance to Vietnam in tough times.

During the pandemic fight, Germany donated Vietnam 3.45 million vaccine doses in September 2021 along with medical equipment. Germany is also committed to assisting Vietnam with EUR104 million, which will be disbursed for current and future projects in vocational training, healthcare (One Health), welfare, and digitalization.

In May 2021, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) set up four healthcare and pandemic preparedness centers globally, including one in Vietnam.

For recovery plans, at the bilateral negotiations at the governmental level held in July 2021, Germany committed itself to fund development projects like Green Recovery and One Health for which the German Agency for International Cooperation or (GIZ) and the German Investment and Development Bank (KfW) will be responsible, the ambassador said, adding Berlin will secure EUR140 million for Vietnam in the next two years.

The Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership has led to rising economic values over the past decade, according to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu. Between 2010 and 2020, the two-way trade turnover maintained an average growth of 10% per year, to more than $10 billion in 2020.

In 2020, Vietnam overtook Malaysia and Singapore to become Germany’s biggest trade partner in ASEAN while Germany has retained the leading role among Vietnam’s trade partners.

Germany was the third-largest EU investor in Vietnam with 391 projects worth more than $2.2 billion. So far, German official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam has reached $2.2 billion.

In addition, the Vietnamese-German University, the Deutsche Haus Ho Chi Minh City (German House Ho Chi Minh City), and the Germany-invested Metro No.2 Project in HCMC have been symbols of the bilateral partnership.

According to Ambassador Minh Vu and German Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, the people-to-people links of the two countries are so special thanks to the community of nearly 200,000 Vietnamese in Germany and around 100,000 Vietnamese people returned from Germany after years of studying and living there.

They are bridges connecting the two nations and contributing to the deepened ties of the “truly strategic partners.”

Heiko Maas said it’s been 10 years since the two nations set up the strategic partnership during the visit to Hanoi by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the decade-long partnership has resulted in significant achievements. And Germany’s diplomacy will focus on reinforcing the bilateral relations in the next decades.

 Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung at the handover ceremony in Hanoi on Sept 27. Photo: Embassy of Germany in Hanoi