Tightening Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership

10:56 | 24/03/2016 MUTRAP Corner

(VEN) - Dr. Hans-Dieter Stell, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ho Chi Minh City), spoke to Vietnam Economic News’ My Phung about milestones in bilateral relations between Vietnam and Germany over the past four decades since the two countries established diplomatic relations, especially since bilateral relations were upgraded to a strategic partnership.

tightening vietnam germany strategic partnership
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang (middle) attended the German-Vietnamese Business Forum in Frankfurt on November 26, 2015

What do you think of the achievements in bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Germany over the past four decades since the two countries established diplomatic relations?

Over the past 40 years, the relations between Germany and Vietnam have developed into a very successful and reliable partnership. This partnership has since created substantial benefits for both countries and was therefore further appreciated and intensified by establishing a Strategic Partnership in 2011.

Within the framework of the Strategic Partnership we push forward important lighthouse projects like the Deutsches Haus (German House), the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) and Metro Line 2. Additionally, a great number of other successful joint projects have already been implemented, such as the cooperation concerning vocational training with the LILAMA 2 College in Dong Nai, business development programs in Ben Tre Province, combating climate change, and flood protection in the Mekong Delta.

Furthermore, Germany has provided more than £1.8 billion for official development assistance (ODA projects in Vietnam since 1990 and extensively supports Vietnam in the fields of power supply and renewable energy, protection of the environment and natural resources as well as education and vocational training. Germany has facilitated payments amounting to a total of £250 million in order to help Vietnam to reach its goals, in particular to grow economically in an environmentally friendly way.

Finally, the overall trade volume between our two countries has risen significantly by 14 percent to reach a total of US$8.92 billion in 2015. We are very proud that this makes Germany Vietnam’s most important European trading partner.

Could you share the progress of lighthouse projects between the two countries?

Apart from the intensive cooperation between Germany and Vietnam which includes various particular projects, Deutsches Haus (German House), the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) and Metro Line 2 stand out due to their major significance for further improving German-Vietnamese relations (“lighthouse character”).

Deutsches Haus is a pioneering premium grade office tower of the highest technological standard located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, providing a great location for companies from Germany and other countries. The 25-storey-building with a total height of 107 meters is expected to be completed in August 2017 and will be home to the German Consulate General.

The Vietnamese-German University (VGU) was founded in September 2008 and has since then played a very important role for further improving the relationship between Germany and Vietnam. With more than 1,200 enrolled bachelor and master students, the VGU is a model university within the Vietnamese academic system for applied sciences and research. We are very happy about the plan to create a new campus close to Ho Chi Minh City in 2020.

Last but not least I hope that the Metro Line 2 project will be of great benefit for the citizens of Ho Chi Minh City and that it will help to solve the challenges the city faces in the area of public transport due to the foreseeable significant increase in traffic.

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang visited Germany in November 2015. What do you think of the visit’s contributions to tightening the strategic partnership between the two countries?

We and the German government are very happy that the visit of President Sang has further improved the relations between our two countries. The visit was not only a symbol for an intensive and beneficial partnership but also helped to create awareness for the multitude of our bilateral projects in Vietnam. Accordingly, the German President highlighted that Germany and Vietnam are bonded by their common interest in stability, security, and economic development in a globalized world.

Education and vocational training is one of the important areas of cooperation between our two countries. Could you highlight impressive results the two sides have achieved?

We enjoy a great exchange with Vietnam. Germany extensively supports education and vocational training in Vietnam. Apart from the “success-story” VGU, bilateral, cultural, academic, and educational exchange is further developing. Since 2003, the Goethe-Institut has provided language programs and regularly organized cultural projects and exchange activities in Ho Chi Minh City. The most recent and very important event was the German Film Festival in September 2015.

Additionally, the German educational program for managers has been extended (270 graduated Vietnamese mangers since 2008). Founding the International German School in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012 was a further milestone and the school has excellent facilities with dedicated German and Vietnamese staff. Vietnamese children leaving the IGS will be able to enter Germany either for study or vocational training purposes without requiring a visa process. Finally, Germany provides an essential contribution to the training of the Vietnamese workforce by helping Vietnam to establish structures for vocational training itself. We are sure that this practical approach, focused on the needs of a growing economy, will result in further investments in Vietnam and thus help Vietnam to remain an important player in the ASEAN region.

What do you expect from strengthening bilateral cooperation to a higher level in the near future?

I am confident that Germany and Vietnam will continue to have flourishing relations in the future and that our dynamic partnership will be further intensified. I have no doubts that private investors will be encouraged to amplify their investments in Vietnam if Vietnam is able to provide a reliable and sustainable legal framework which warrants security and result-predictability. Be assured: Against this background I and my team at the German Consulate will do our best to assist Vietnam!

My Phung