Vietnam treasures strategic partnership with Germany: president

Thanh Nien News/Vietnam News Agency

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President Truong Tan Sang (L) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit on November 25, 2015. Photo credit: VNA President Truong Tan Sang (L) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit on November 25, 2015. Photo credit: VNA
Vietnam attaches great importance to developing the strategic partnership with Germany, President Truong Tan Sang told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their talks on Thursday as part of his visit to the European nation.
The Vietnamese leader expressed his wish that Germany will maintain its position as Vietnam’s leading European partner in trade-investment, science-technology, education-training, vocational training and employment cooperation.
The development of Vietnam-Germany ties in both depth and width has great significance for Vietnam when the country is speeding up its international economic integration and major bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, of which the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement is a high priority, he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany values Vietnam’s position in Southeast Asia and wants to strengthen mutually-beneficial relations with Vietnam and through Vietnam with the ASEAN.
The two leaders noted with pleasure the effective work of bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Vietnam-Germany Strategic Management Group, the Macro-economy Dialogue, the Political Consultation and bilateral working groups in various areas which have enabled the effective implementation of the Vietnam-German Strategic Action Plan, thus increasing mutual trust and understanding.
They agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels and fruitfully realize bilateral cooperation mechanisms in order to create a momentum to strengthen and expand the strategic partnership.
Host and guest spoke highly of the rapid and sustainable growth of bilateral trade which nearly doubled from US$4.1 billion in 2010 to $7.8 billion in 2014.
Bilateral trade nearly doubled from US$4.1 billion in 2010 to $7.8 billion in 2014. 
Germany has maintained its status as Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the EU, making up nearly 20 percent of the Vietnam’s export turnover in the EU market.
Many German businesses like Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, B.Braun, Messer and Allianz are operating successfully in Vietnam.
However, Germany’s investment in Vietnam has remained moderate, reaching only $1.41 billion, ranking fifth in the EU, they said.
Trade, investment potential
The leaders held that the two countries’ economic structures and strengths are reciprocal. They said with Germany’s large economic scale and strength in cutting-edge science-technology and Vietnam’s stable and dynamic development and intensive international integration, they are in good positions to boost trade and investment.
Enhancing trade and investment cooperation between the two countries are in line with the consensus reached by their leaders and aspirations of their businesses, they noted.
The Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, once signed and taking effect, is bound to create an impulse for economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries in the time ahead.
The two leaders consented to bring bilateral trade to $20 billion and Germany’s investment capital to $5 billion in the next five years.
Both expressed their satisfaction at the pace of the German House project in Ho Chi Minh City, which is described as a symbol of mutual trust and close ties between the two countries.
They agreed to create optimal conditions for the two countries’ businesses to beef up their cooperation, especially in manufacturing, electronics, renewable energy, infrastructure, consumer goods and agro-fisheries products.
Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to facilitate Vietnam’s exports to the German market, and noted her hope that Vietnam will be a bridge between Germany and other ASEAN countries.
Education and jobs
President Truong Tan Sang thanked the German Government for continuing the provision of development aid to Vietnam, with $220 million to be supplied in 2015-2017, prioritizing energy, environment and vocational training.
The leaders expressed their delight at the effective cooperation between the two countries in education-training and science-technology, and agreed to turn the Vietnam-Germany University into a leading research and training center in Vietnam, meeting international standards.
They are committed to facilitating the teaching of German and Vietnamese in the respective countries and studying the construction of high-quality vocational training facilities in Vietnam.
President Sang hailed the pilot program of sending Vietnamese nurses to work in Germany, and proposed the European country expand labor cooperation programs to other promising professions such as hospital technicians and orthopedic equipment manufacturers.
With a young and dynamic workforce, Vietnam could support Germany in terms of human resources for various fields, he said.
The German Chancellor spoke highly of the successful integration of the 125,000-strong Vietnamese community in Germany, who she said have made active contributions to the development and prosperity of the host country.
She confirmed that the German Government will continue to create favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country.
The two leaders also discussed in depth regional and international issues of mutual concerns and agreed to enhance cooperation and mutual support at multilateral forums and international organizations, particularly at the United Nations, Asia-Europe (ASEM) Summit, and ASEAN-EU.
The German Chancellor said she supports stronger relations between Vietnam and the EU, including the early signing of the the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement and the EU’s recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status.
For his part, President Sang said Vietnam will serve as a bridge to boost ASEAN’s relations with the EU and Germany in particular.
As regards the East Sea issues, Merkel reiterated Germany’s support for Vietnam and ASEAN’s viewpoints in settling any disputes via peaceful means and in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
On the same day, President Truong Tan Sang had a working session with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during which the Vietnamese State leader highlighted the growing strategic partnership between the two countries and confirmed Vietnam regards Germany as one of its top partners and hopes to further deepen the bilateral friendship and cooperation.
The President hailed the close coordination between the two ministries of foreign affairs via consulting activities and mutual support at multilateral forums.
 German President Joachim Gauck  and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang inspect the guard of honor in Berlin on November 25, 2015. Photo: Truong Son
In the economic front, the President said there remains vast potential for bilateral cooperation in the field, and hopes the business communities would grasp new cooperation opportunities in trade and investment.
Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the German government attaches great importance to the strategic partnership with Vietnam and pledged to work alongside the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant ministries to deepen the two countries’ relations.
On the occasion, President Sang along with senior officials of the two countries witnessed the signing of six cooperation documents. They included an agreement on allowing relatives of members of diplomatic representative agencies to hold paid jobs in the other country, a governmental agreement on science-technology cooperation, a protocol revising and supplementing terms of the 1994 aviation transport agreement, and an MoU on forestry cooperation. There was also a technical service contract on maintaining A320 aircraft engine between Vietjet Air and Lufthansa Group.

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