Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis will visit Vietnam early next month as the two countries prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations later this year.
Mr Cassis is planned to be Hanoi from August 4-6 as the last leg in his six-day tour to three Southeast Asia nations which starts with Thailand then Laos.
Swiss Foreign Ministry (FDFA) in its July 29 statement indicated that Mr Cassis’ visit focuses on the country’s Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23, under which Switzerland is to expand its engagement in Asia and step up cooperation.
“Switzerland aims to achieve this objective through bilateral exchanges and a dialogue partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Switzerland is also taking an active role in efforts to contain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region,” said the statement.
In Hanoi, Mr Cassis’ focus is to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries. He will meet with Prime Minister PHAM Minh Chinh and Foreign Minister BUI Thanh Son and launch the Cooperation Strategy 2021–24 spearheaded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
“Vietnam was for decades a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Since 2016, SECO has been responsible for Swiss economic cooperation with Vietnam and has run a series of programs in the country,” the FDFA statement emphasized.
Since 2012, Switzerland has also been negotiating a free trade agreement with Vietnam, which it expects to be concluded in the near future.