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Nov 27, 2021 / 10:58

Vietnam among Switzerland’s priorities for economic cooperation: Swiss President

Vietnam and Switzerland need a new cooperation framework to further promote investment and economic relations amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Vietnam is among Switzerland’s priorities for economic cooperation in the years to come, which is clearly shown by the level of attention from Swiss companies to business opportunities in the country.

Swiss President Guy Parmelin stressed the view during the Vietnam-Switzerland Business Summit held on November 26 that he and Vietnam’s State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc co-chaired, attracting the participation of over 100 enterprises from both countries.

 State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the summit. Source: VNA

According to Parmelin, the cooperation potentials between the two countries remain huge, which requires a new cooperation framework to further promote investment from Switzerland to Vietnam.

He also revealed at least CHF70 million (US$75.8 million) would be allocated for economic development projects in Vietnam during the 2021-2024 period.

At present, both countries have signed key legal documents that serve as the foundation for cooperation, including agreements on investment protection, Double Taxation Avoidance, and intellectual property rights.

But another key agreement that is still under negotiation for nine years now, namely the European Free Trade Association (EFTA, a trade deal comprising Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Vietnam), for which Parmelin expected the two sides to soon make breakthroughs in this regard.

For his part, Vietnam’s State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed the necessity for both sides to soon conclude the negotiation process for mutual benefits.

Phuc called for further investments from Swiss companies into priority fields in Vietnam that they have deep expertise, including banking-finance, hi-tech, innovation, and digitalization.

He noted Vietnam has now shifted its investment strategy from purely attracting FDI to cooperating with foreign investors for a win-win relation, with emphasis on social responsibility, the benefit of workers, and environmental protection.

 Overview of the summit.

“Vietnam gives priority to FDI projects in the fields of hi-tech, innovation, and R&D,” Phuc said, noting the Government is committed to creating favorable conditions for local businesses to take part in global value chains, promoting digital economy, and contributing to sustainable socio-economic development.

Phuc also stressed the complementary nature of the two economies rather than direct competition on goods and services, suggesting both countries lay the ground for deeper cooperation in fields of finance-banking, hi-tech, innovation, and digitalization.

Swiss firms coming to Vietnam would benefit from the country’s participation in 15 FTAs, including CPTPP or EVFTA.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Phuc asked for the Swiss Government’s support in vaccine supplies via COVAX, along with medical equipment and transfer of technologies for the production of vaccines and drugs.

Phuc said Vietnam is committed to creating a favorable business environment in line with commitments under the new-generation FTAs that the country is a part of, with a focus on socio-economic stability; addressing bottlenecks of the economy in terms of legislation, infrastructure, and human resources; developing supply chains and reducing costs of logistics, administrative procedures.

For the past five years, bilateral trade turnover has been consistently around US$1 billion, while Switzerland currently has 181 investment projects in Vietnam with a combined registered capital of $1.92 billion.

Vietnam is also Switzerland’s fourth-largest trading partner in ASEAN.

Major economic contracts signed

As part of the Summit, Vietnam’s budget airline Vietjet and Swiss company SR Technics signed an aircraft maintenance and services contract worth $150 million.

The contract also includes technical assistance and cooperation in operating a fly training institute in Vietnam by both sides.

Vietjet also signed a strategic partnership agreement with Swiss-AS, the provider of the industry-leading aviation maintenance management system known as AMOS.

Vietnam’s CT Group and Shinder Holding also exchanged a memorandum of understanding on developing technologies for urban and transport development projects in Vietnam.