16:27 | 14/10/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - This year marks the 40th anniversary of German-Vietnamese diplomatic ties. The relationship has delivered huge benefits for both countries.
Charge d’Affaires of the Federal Republic of Germany to Vietnam Hans-Jörg Brunner
Realizing the strategic partnership
According to Charge d’Affaires of the Federal Republic of Germany to Vietnam Hans-Jörg Brunner, relations between the two countries have developed very well, particularly in recent years. This is visible through regular mutual visits by high-ranking delegations including the visit to Vietnam by German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in 2011 to establish a strategic partnership between the two countries and the visits to Germany by Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in 2013 and by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2014.
After that, German Deputy Prime Minister Sigmar Gabriel flew to Ho Chi Minh City in November 2014 to open the Asia-Pacific Conference of German businesses. This was Germany’s largest economic conference abroad. In March 2015 German National Assembly Chairman Norbert Lammert visited Hanoi for the German Festival which attracted 7,000 visitors.
German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier is scheduled to visit Vietnam this October. Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang is also set to pay an official visit to Germany in November to strengthen bilateral relations. Economic cooperation has been slated as a major theme during his visit.
Highlights in the German-Vietnamese strategic partnership include lighthouse projects, the German House project, the Vietnamese-German University, and the Metro Line 2 project in Ho Chi Minh City.
Economic cooperation in focus
Brunerb said that economic cooperation is a highlight of German-Vietnamese cooperation. Germany is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the European Union. With more than 300 companies, German investment in Vietnam increased by almost 40 percent in 2014 ranking 16th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam. German companies have created jobs and contributed to economic development in Vietnam. As for Germany, Vietnam is an attractive investment market. This is reflected through the Asia-Pacific Conference of the German economic community held in November 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City hosting more than 850 representatives and leaders of German companies. The conference proved that German companies have put their trust in the investment environment and bright economic prospects in Asia and Vietnam in particular.
In addition, trade exchange between the two countries has increased by an average of 15-20 percent per year in the last five years reaching US$7.8 billion in 2014 with a large export surplus for Vietnam. The figure is expected to increase by 10 percent this year and to increase significantly after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) takes effect.
Brunerb also said that in the short term the two countries would try to promote the conclusion of the EVFTA. Germany would also promote infrastructure investment projects in Ho Chi Minh City, which is the largest economic center in Vietnam and a dynamically and robustly growing place where German companies want to enhance cooperation.
German projects in the city such as the Metro Line 2 would begin in the near future. The US$80 million German House project is expected to be completed by 2017 becoming a new symbol of relations and the new office for German organizations and groups.
Germany’s development cooperation partner
Apart from politics and economics, Vietnam and Germany have decided to improve the quality of development cooperation to help Vietnam drive towards a sustainable economy.
According to Brunerb, Vietnam is Germany’s key development cooperation partner. Germany’s development assistance will focus on sustainable economic growth or green growth, and building the competitiveness of the Vietnamese industry in the ASEAN Economic Community via increasing its skilled workforce.
The German Reconstruction Bank (KfW) and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ) have played a major role in development cooperation with an emphasis on vocational training, biopersity and coastal protection, and effective use of energy, including renewable power.
Moreover, Germany has committed to continue its support for Vietnam during the construction and development of the Vietnam-Germany University as an exemplary university in the region and the world training Vietnamese students according to German standards. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier will lay the first brick as the foundation of the German House during his coming visit. Germany will also continue helping Vietnamese students to study in Germany and help Vietnam build several high-quality vocational training centers following the German dual training model.
Charge d’Affaires of the Federal Republic of Germany to Vietnam Hans-Jörg Brunner said, “As far as Germany is concerned, relations with Vietnam are always special. At present, about 120,000 Vietnamese are living and working in Germany, of whom more than 100,000 speak German. They are one of bridges connecting people and businesses in the two countries.”