It would be ideal for Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) next year on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic establishment between Vietnam and Switzerland in 2021, according to Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber.
Hanoi’s Party chief Vuong Dinh Hue (right) and Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Ivo Sieber (left). Photo: Thanh Hai.
The EFTA, comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, looks forward to having a framework for trade and investment with Vietnam, which would help lure more investment to the Southeast Asian country, Mr. Sieber said at a meeting with Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue on November 27.
Mr. Sieber added as the bilateral cooperation program for the 2017 – 2020 period is expiring, a similar program for the next four year would soon be deployed with a financial support package of CHF80 million (US$88 million) for Vietnam.
Hanoi’s Party chief Hue said both Vietnam and the EFTA could take the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as a reference in negotiating for a potential trade deal, adding such a FTA would create favorable conditions for more cooperation in trade and investment between the two sides.
Mr. Hue said in Hanoi’s upcoming development strategy, the city identifies science, technology and innovation as major driving forces for rapid and sustainable development.
According to Mr. Hue, Hanoi targets to become the country’s center of science and technology by 2025, and at the top of ASEAN in some aspects.
Delegates at the meeting. Photo: Thanh Hai.
In the coming time, Hanoi would launch an initiatives network to connect scientists and researchers in Hanoi, accounting for 65% of the total in Vietnam, to Vietnamese talents abroad and international scientists.
Hanoi is looking forward to cooperating with Switzerland in forming an ecosystem of innovative startups, tourism, education, finance, which are the latter’s expertise.
This year, despite being severely impacted by Covid-19, Hanoi has successfully contained the pandemic and created the foundation for economic recovery and development.
Mr. Hue informed that the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth is set to reach 4% in 2020, 1.5 times higher than the national average, and its inflation would be curbed at 3%, lower than the national target of 4%.
Moreover, state budget revenue of Hanoi is on track to be higher than the estimated for this year, Mr. Hue added, and this would be a solid base for Hanoi to grow stronger not only next year, but also in the subsequent five-year period.
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