08:45 | 06/11/2019 MUTRAP Corner
(VEN) - At a meeting with Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, Swedish Minister for Foreign Trade Ann Linde expressed a wish to assist Vietnam in energy-related fields, especially renewable energy. The meeting was held during a recent visit to Vietnam by the Crown Princess of Sweden, Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree.
|A meeting between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and Swedish foreign trade officials|
Interest in Vietnam
Minister Ann Linde said the Swedish government and business community are very interested in Vietnam.
She added that Sweden attaches great importance to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and promised that the Swedish government would accelerate the signing of the EVFTA, believing that it will contribute to boosting bilateral trade and investment between Vietnam and Sweden.
With its advantages, Sweden wishes to cooperate with and assist Vietnam in the field of energy efficiency, focusing on developing renewable energy resources. Sweden also wants to support Vietnamese small and medium enterprises and help Vietnam in other fields such as policymaking, infrastructure development, human resources training for Industry 4.0 and the digital economy.
“Given the sincere friendship and warm relationship between the two countries, Sweden is willing to contribute to Vietnam’s development,” Minister Ann Linde said.
Many Swedish companies are seeking business opportunities in Vietnam. A representative of ABB, a world-leading supplier of electrical substations and automation solutions in the fields of industry and public service, said Vietnam plans to intensify its 500kV transmission network by 2020. ABB wants to provide Vietnam with high-quality products and technological knowledge to help it implement the plan. ABB also wants to cooperate with the Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) through Swedish funds and power quality studies. ABB is also willing to help Vietnam build greener and more sustainable power networks.
Many Swedish investment projects, including manufacturing facilities, have been operating in Vietnam for years in various fields, such as retail distribution, machinery manufacturing, electricity, information technology, telecommunications, urban transport infrastructure, home appliances, food processing, education and training.
Successful examples include major groups such as ABB, Ericsson, Volvo, Tetra Pak and Electrolux. Other brand names such as H&M, Skype and IKEA have also become familiar to Vietnamese consumers.
Commercial relations between Vietnam and Sweden have existed for a long time and keep expanding. By March 2019, Sweden ranked 33rd among 131 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 67 ongoing projects. Goods traded between Vietnam and Sweden are commensurate with the economic structure of the two countries.
Data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade show that bilateral trade reached US$1.5 billion in 2018, up 14.34 percent compared with 2017, and this included US$1.16 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Sweden, up 18.99 percent, and US$345 million worth of imports from this market, up 1.09 percent. In the first three months of this year, Vietnam exported to Sweden US$324 million worth of goods and imported US$72 million worth of Swedish products. Bilateral trade in the first quarter of 2019 reached approximately US$400 million, up 4.37 percent compared with the same period last year.
Facilitating trade and investment
Minister Tran Tuan Anh believes there is still room for Vietnam and Sweden to boost bilateral trade and investment. Swedish investment in Vietnam has exceeded US$365 million, accounting for a modest percentage of the total of nearly US$347 billion of foreign direct investment in Vietnam.
Sweden is not only an important trade and investment partner, but is also willing to share its technology and experience to help Vietnam promote sustainable development.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade pledged to serve as a bridge between businesses of the two countries and maintain tight coordination with relevant ministries and sectors to promote bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as energy, support industries, retail distribution and vocational training.
At a roundtable conference held in the framework of the recent Sweden-Vietnam Business Summit in Hanoi, Minister Tran Tuan Anh said Vietnam is experiencing a development period with a high degree of economic openness that requires consistent policies in all fields. Free trade agreements, including the EVFTA, are expected to offer Vietnam great opportunities to become a reliable partner of Sweden and other countries in the EU, Southeast Asia and other regions.
“The Vietnamese government is promoting institutional improvements to create favorable conditions for foreign investors, including Swedish companies, to do long-term and sustainable business in Vietnam,” Minister Tran Tuan Anh affirmed.
Swedish Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree, accompanied by representatives of 50 businesses and trade
organizations, paid a working visit to Vietnam in May. The visit was among a series of activities to celebrate the
50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Sweden (1969-2019).