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Newly appointed Swedish ambassador to Vietnam Staffan Herrström told VIR that Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently established its Business and Development Council as a substantial initiative to cement commercial relations between Sweden and seven countries including Vietnam.
The council is in charge of giving advice to the Swedish government about how to maximise Swedish enterprises’ expertise in developing countries.
“Vietnam is one of seven countries for the initiative to be implemented on a pilot basis, so that Swedish enterprises’ experience can be used to contribute to Vietnam’s sustainable economic growth,” Herrström said.
Under the initiative, through trade and investment, Swedish businesses can help generate economic growth in Vietnam by increasing employment, technology development and higher tax revenues. Swedish businesses can also make valuable contributions to implementing Swedish development policy.
Sweden’s government has acknowledged the need to make better use of business sector experience and expertise in implementing global development policies.
He said most Swedish companies in Vietnam were in close collaboration with local partners, who were mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises. This collaboration enabled a knowledge transfer between Sweden and Vietnam. The local partners would experience the benefits with corporate social responsibility - such as higher revenues, lower turn-over of staff and a cleaner environment.
“I believe that there are great opportunities for Swedish businesses in Vietnam. Vietnam’s needs in many sectors are suitable to Sweden’s competence and supply, which, for example, are available in “green solutions” of different kinds like in energy, waste management, water treatment and traffic solutions,” he said.
He said Swedish investors had sought interesting opportunities in various sectors in Vietnam like e-banking, e-health and e-learning.
The two countries’ two-way trade augmented from $273.1 million in 2005 to $335.2 million in 2006, $441.5 million in 2007, $455 million in 2008 and $631 million in 2009. The figure was $219.8 million in 2010’s first half and expected to be $440 million for the whole year.
Vietnam is currently home to about 80 Swedish companies.