Official visit of the Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh TRIET
Bern, 18.05.2010 - President Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA), and Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), today received the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh TRIET, at the Lohn Country Residence in Kehrsatz. In the course of this first official visit by a Vietnamese President, discussions covered bilateral relations in general, economic relations, development cooperation and international political issues.
Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1971, bilateral relations between Switzerland and Vietnam have steadily developed and intensified:
- Bilateral trade between Switzerland and Vietnam quintupled between 1998 and 2008, amounting to CHF 2.7 billion in 2009. Switzerland is among the five most important European investors in Vietnam.
- On 19 May, a feasibility study for a free trade agreement between the EFTA states and Vietnam will officially be launched in Geneva during a visit by the Vietnamese Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry to the European Free Trade Association EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). It is the task of this joint study group to evaluate the feasibility of a comprehensive agreement between the EFTA states and Vietnam. The results of the study should be ready within a year at the latest.
- The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been involved in development cooperation activities in Vietnam since the mid-1990s as part of Switzerland's cooperation strategy for the Mekong region. In view of Vietnam's positive socio-economic development, Switzerland is in the process of shifting the focus of its activities in the region. Vietnam has been one of the seven priority countries in SECO's (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) economic development cooperation programme since 2009.
- On 22 April 2010, the 8th round of the Human Rights Dialogue between Switzerland and Vietnam, which Switzerland has been conducting since 1997, was held in Bern.
In addition to bilateral issues, the current economic situation in Switzerland and Vietnam, Vietnam's chairmanship of ASEAN and international and multilateral affairs were also discussed.
In the afternoon, the President will be received by the President of the Council of States, Erika Forster-Vannini, along with the ‘Friends of Viet Nam' parliamentary group. To conclude the official visit, the Vietnamese President and President Leuthard will meet with selected Swiss and Vietnamese business representatives for a round table discussion.
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