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|The press conference in Hanoi commemorated 50 years of Vietnamese-Swedish diplomatic relations|
This statement was delivered by Swedish ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg in the press conference held jointly by the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 11 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Over the past half century, Sweden has been Vietnam’s friend and partner, even in the most difficult times. Sweden was the second largest ODA donour to Vietnam in the 70s, the largest in the 80s, and the fourth largest in the 90s,” said the ambassador.
|Sweden ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg|
Sweden was the first Western European country to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
In the past 50 years, Vietnamese-Swedish relations have grown from strength to strength in all areas, from politics and diplomacy through trade and investment to culture and education, bringing about benefits to the two peoples.
The bilateral cooperation focused on healthcare (Uong Bi General Hospital in Quang Ninh province and National Paediatrics Hospital in Hanoi), the paper and forest industry (Bai Bang Paper Mill – now Vietnam Paper Corporation), besides reforestation projects, and administrative reforms of laws and taxes.
Official development assistance from Sweden has lasted for 46 years and amounted to more than $4 billion in today’s monetary value.
According to the ambassador, even though the two countries’ bilateral development cooperation had ended in 2013, Sweden still provides substantial assistance to the Vietnamese people through regional aid programmes in the Mekong, and via the EU’s and UN’s respective aid budgets to Vietnam.
By virtue of massive economic growth and successful reforms, Vietnam is a middle-income country. The two countries have been taking steps towards a more equal partnership.
|More than 70 Swedish companies are operating in Vietnam, many of them are world’s leading players such as ABB, AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, Electrolux, Ericsson, H&M, IKEA, SKF, Volvo and Tetra Pak.|
“We see trade, investment, exchange studies, academic and cultural cooperation, and tourism flourishing between Vietnam and Sweden. The trade figures are now well above $1 billion per year with potential for a strong increase, and with the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement we will see an even stronger Swedish presence,” said the ambassador.
More than 70 Swedish companies are operating in Vietnam, many of them are world-leading players such as ABB, AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, Electrolux, Ericsson, H&M, IKEA, SKF, Volvo, and Tetra Pak.
“Even though the relationship between Sweden and Vietnam has changed over the years, Sweden continues to be committed to Vietnam’s future road ahead,” said the ambassador.
|Dinh Toan Thang, general director of Europe Department, MOFA|
“Over the past half a century, Vietnam and Sweden have always been travelling companions on a long road with many hallmarks that other bilateral relationship may not have,” said Dinh Toan Thang, general director of the Europe Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
“In the new context, Vietnam and Sweden still cherish their bonds and look forward to closer partnership relations on the basis of shared goals of sustainable development and a world of peace and cooperation.”
“Trade, investment, health, education, transport, ICT, green tech, and environmental protection are among the priority areas of bilateral co-operation. The soon to be signed and ratified EVFTA, once it comes into effect, will give a fresh impetus to bilateral economic ties,” Thang said.
Over the years, thousands of Vietnamese people have taken part in training programmes in Sweden, studied at Swedish universities, worked for Swedish companies. Thousands of Swedes have lived and worked in Vietnam. Last year, more than 50,000 Swedes visited Vietnam.
Under the framework of the commemorative year of 2019, the two countries will work together to organise a series of important events, such as the exchange of delegations at all levels, the hosting of the Vietnam-Sweden Business Summit in Hanoi, the ASEAN Business Forum in Sweden, the Vietnamese Art Gala in Sweden, Vietnam Internet Forum, Vietnam Day in Sweden, the choir programme performed by Swedish artists in Vietnam, and a number of education and training promotion programmes.
The Swedish Embassy’s anniversary programme on January 11 started with a tour for local media to visit historic places in the city which reflect bilateral relations, including the National Paediatrics Hospital (formerly known as Olof Palme Children’s Hospital), Vietnam Paper Corporation (formerly known as Bai Bang Paper Mill), Vietnam National Academy of Music, Casa Italia (where the first residence of the Swedish Embassy was located), and the former Swedish Embassy at Nui Truc street.
At each location, a special guest was invited to share with the media their unforgettable memories of the place.
In the evening on the same day, the Vietnam-Sweden Cultural and Friendship Exchange Programme took place at the Government Guesthouse, co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and the Swedish Embassy.