10/09/2014 08:37 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

“Vietnam to become the next Asian Dragon”

On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Sweden-Vietnam diplomatic relations, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander gave VNP’s reporter an interview on cooperation and relations between the two countries.

                                                             Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

VNP’s Reporter: 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of Sweden- Vietnam diplomatic relations. Could you share with us the most remarkable achievements of bilateral cooperation between the two nations during the last 45 years?

Swedish Ambassador: Sweden and Vietnam established their diplomatic ties in 1969 and 45 years of history have laid a strong foundation for a unique and special relationship. Sweden was the second largest ODA donor of Vietnam in the 70s, the largest in the 80s and ranked fourth in the 90s. Among projects built from Swedish ODA, Bai Bang Paper Mill and the National Hospital of Pediatrics in Hanoi are great examples of joint achievements. Sweden provided more than three million dollars for Vietnam.

In 2012, Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) commissioned an independent evaluation of over four decades of the development cooperation with Vietnam. It concluded that Swedish development cooperation has improved the health and education and overall development levels of millions of Vietnamese citizens-which was a major achievement.

Now we are entering a new period of bilateral relations towards a more equal partnership. I am delighted to note that cooperation between the two countries has been established in most fields, including politics, economics, trade, investment, culture and education at various levels, ranging from central to local, from governmental, parliamentary to ministerial, business to business and people to people exchange. 
 

State President Truong Tan Sang receives Camilla Mellander, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam. Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai receives Ambassador Camilla Mellander and a Swedish commercial delegation during a visit to 
 Vietnam to look for opportunities for cooperation and investment. Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file


Minister of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander
attend the celebration of Swedish National Day on June 6, 2014, in Hanoi. Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file


Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander meets with Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City
People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan. Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file


VNP’s reporter: What are your opinions about Vietnam’s strategy in international integration? What should Vietnam do to take full advantage of benefits brought from globalisation and integration in the future?

Swedish Ambassador: Vietnam today is a dynamic country with a young workforce and a great potential of becoming the next Asian dragon if you strive to work hard and smart in the right directions. Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was a further step towards higher growth, further development of the country and new job creation.

Despite global economic difficulties, Vietnam still received more than 20 billion dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 65%. I would like to compliment the measures introduced by the Vietnamese Government, which has helped reduce inflation and maintain a stable exchange rate. Another key priority for Vietnam is to negotiate and finalise FTA with the EU in 2014 and we strongly support Vietnam in this process as we believed that trade liberalisation benefits all parties.

It has also been fascinating for me to observe Vietnam’s active contribution to building the ASEAN community and the important role that Vietnam plays as the coordinator of ASEAN-EU relations. Without a doubt, Sweden considers Vietnam a reliable partner when trading in the ASEAN region.

In the political arena, Vietnam has made a landmark decision to join UN Peacekeeping Operations and was elected a member to the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016
 

Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander and famous Vietnamese singer My Linh
who was appointed “the Ambassador of the 45th Anniversary of Sweden – Vietnam Diplomatic Ties”,
at a press conference to open the programme to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Sweden – Vietnam diplomatic ties.
Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file 

Swedish Ambassador Camilla Mellander presents 500 helmets to pupils
of Cat Linh Primary School in Hanoi. Photo: Swedish Embassy’s file

Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander cuts the band to open the  Enertec Expo 2012 in Hanoi. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP



Sweden has cooperated with and supported Vietnam in many projects on green technology and environment protection. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP


 
VNP’s reporter: Bilateral trade turnover in the last three years increased about 28% per year, what should we do to increase this value?

Swedish Ambassador: The Swedish government’s goal is to increase trade with Vietnam. Sweden can contribute to Vietnam’s economic development by increased trade ties, exchange of business solutions and technology transfer.

Sweden has a lot to offer on green technology and sustainable solutions, in line with Vietnam’s strategy for green growth and sustainability.

The last 12 months have witnessed several high level visits from Stockholm to Hanoi, particularly the visit headed by Gunnar Oom, State Secretary for Trade that was a great success when he came with Swedish companies wanting to trade or expand business with Vietnam.

Sweden now has over 70 companies established in Vietnam. Many of them are very successful models in the local market, namely ABB, AtlasCopco, AstraZeneca, Electrolux, IKEA, SKF and TetraPak.

We have also seen increased interests from Swedish enterprises wanting to invest or do business here, reflected by numerous Swedish business delegations to Vietnam last year. They were interested in urban transport, health care, clean tech, banking and ICT.

The Embassy, together with Business Sweden, is actively supporting Swedish companies that are already here or wish to enter the market. We will keep working closely with trade promotion agencies from the Vietnamese side. Exchange of business delegations, participation in trade fairs in Vietnam and Sweden, and other match-making forums will be continued in the future, bringing businesses and companies from our two countries together.

VNP’s reporter: Thank you very much! 

Mrs. Camilla Mellander was born in 1966. She has been appointed as Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam in August 2012. She worked at many positions in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Deputy Chief of Department of the Consultation and Civil law, Head of the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Office, Political Adviser of European Special Envoy for the Middle East and Deputy Ambassador to Israel. She can speak many languages as English, French and Jewish. She is very friendly and has made great contribution to promoting the friendship and relations between Vietnam and Sweden.
 
Story: Bich Van - Photos: Viet Cuong & Swedish Embassy’s files