SVBG was invited to exhibit its activities to some 300 distinguished guests attending the 76th Vietnam National Day reception held at the Bern City Hall (Rathaus Bern) on September 1, 2021.
Bern (SVBG) -The reception was also commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Switzerland and the 30 years of bilateral development cooperation.
Representing the Swiss Government to the ceremony were Ambassador Raphael Nägeli, Head of the Asia Pacific Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and several members of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Also attending the event were Mr. Johann Schneider-Amman, Switzerland’s former President and Economy Minister, and Dr Philipp Rösler, former Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics and Technology of Germany.
Ambassador Nägeli in his congratulatory note to the Vietnamese people announced that Swiss Government had approved Vietnam’s proposal to appoint Dr. Philipp Rösler, who has settled in Switzerland since 2014 after leaving German politics, to be Honorary Consul of Vietnam to the Swiss cantons of Zurich and Zug.
Philipp Rösler was born to Vietnamese parents in Soc Trang province of South Vietnam in 1973 and was adopted by a German couple who brought him to Düsseldorf, West Germany, at the age of nine months.
An official ceremony to swear in Dr. Philipp Rösler will be arranged later this month, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Dr. LE Linh Lan.
Conditions for Vietnam-EFTA/Switzerland FTA “very good”
At the event, apart from introducing SVBG’s activities and services to the attending guests, SVBG President NGUYEN Thi Thuc had a chance to discuss with several Swiss government officials on various topics, such as the negotiations for an FTA between Vietnam and EFTA/Switzerland, economic issues, international politics and humanitarian aids.
Talking with her, Ambassador Nägeli evaluated that the environment for Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association, of which Switzerland is a major member, to conclude the current FTA negotiations is “very good”.
“As Vietnam already has an FTA with the European Union, that helps set the standards for the FTA between Vietnam and the EFTA,” said Ambassador Nägeli.
“Switzerland doesn’t accept anything lower than those standards,” he added.
Asked about the Swiss protectionist policies against imports of agricultural products, a sector which accounts for a sizable part of Vietnam’s export performances , Ambassador Nägeli acknowledged there exist such measures, but “they mostly do not affect the Vietnamese produces.”
Concurring with the Ambassador, economics professor Mathias Binswanger of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, said the Alpine country doesn’t have many agricultural products that Vietnam do, such as rice, tropical fruits, coffee, cashew nut, and seafood.
One sector where Vietnam could attract huge investments from Switzerland once an FTA is in place is IT and fintech.
President NGUYEN Thi Thuc shared that since the launch of the Swiss-Vietnamese Business Gateway (SVBG) in March this year, her foundation has received several requests from Swiss fintech companies that look for Vietnamese market information, sectoral regulations, qualified employees and potential partners for their Asia expansion plans. SVBG