On the occasion of his official working visit to Vietnam on September 17-19, 2012 German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Philipp Roesler said this visit was to sharpen the two nations’ bilateral investment and trade ties.
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What significance does your visit to Vietnam have for you in your function as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology as well as on a personal level?
I am looking forward to my visit as Federal Minister, but also a little on a personal level. Vietnam is a country with an interesting and varied past and an enormous economic potential. Vietnamese people are hard workers as well as eager for knowledge and wish for a sustainable economic future for their country. At the same time, Vietnam is also part of my personal history. In this respect, my trip to Vietnam will also be accompanied by a certain emotionality. However, Germany is my home.
Germany is currently Vietnam’s biggest European trade partner. The South East Asia country’s exports to Germany during the first half of the year are almost $2 billion. Nevertheless this number does not correspond to Vietnam’s full export potential to this biggest export market in Europe. How do you see the export opportunities of Vietnamese goods to the German market?
In the past few years Vietnam has undergone a strong development and increased its productivity as well as the quality of its products and diversified its economy. This is beneficial to the opportunities of Vietnamese goods in the global competition. I believe that this trend will continue in the future.
Vietnam has shown a strong commitment to futher the education and training of its workers – and this also with some help by German companies in Vietnam. Skilled employees and experts are indispensable in business to further increase the competitiveness of a company and to develop products and services as well as a bigger market share. It is also important not to overlook the sustainability as well as energy efficiency of these products and services.
You will be accompanied by a business delegation. What results do you expect from this trip concerning trade and investment? How do you see the bilateral economic cooperation in the near future?
The German and Vietnamese cooperation in business benefits from a long and faithful relationship. Many business representatives accompanying me to Vietnam have known the country for many years and also have continually developed their cooperation.
With the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel last year and my visit right now the Federal government has shown how important Asia and especially Vietnam is for our economic cooperation based on mutual trust. As Federal Minister of Economics I will continue to champion a good framework for our economic cooperation. Within the European Union I will advocate speedy and constructive negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam.
Scores of German industrial champions have successfully made Vietnam home
Germany is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in Europe. Many of the big projects such as the tramway No2 in Ho Chi Minh City as well as the Vietnamese-German University are being implemented. What steps will have to be taken to further the economic cooperation and trade?
One important measure to further trade is free trade agreements. I am glad that negotiations between the EU and Vietnam on this important topic have been initiated.
Cooperation in Vietnam is furthered by the establishment of market economy structures as well as an improved regulatory framework. First steps are already taken in this direction, but efforts have to continue. Ultimately, economic relations depend on the businesses themselves.
Vietnam and Germany formed a strategic partnership with the Declaration of Hanoi, which was signed by Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last year. This strategic partnership is sign of a special bond between Vietnam and Germany.
And I have to agree, current important projects of our bilateral cooperation are the Vietnamese-German University, the opening of the new Vietnamese-German School as well as the tramway number 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. I also attach great importance to the German House that we want to build in Ho Chi Minh City as a symbol of the friendship between our two countries. This will still need more consultations, but we are on track with this project as well.
Do you expect the European debt crisis to seriously affect a stronger cooperation between Vietnam and Germany?
No. The economic relations between Vietnam and Germany have grown over a long time and are very stable. In the context of the European debt crisis, Germany is well-positioned. Germany will remain the anchor of stability in Europe even within a difficult international environment. Both internal consumption as well as exports are increasing.
Even in the future Vietnam can still count on Germany as a dependable partner with a robust economy.