January 24, 2024
HÀ NỘI — President Võ Văn Thưởng emphasised that, in its foreign policy, Việt Nam consistently values and prioritises the development of relations with Germany, Việt Nam’s leading economic partner in Europe.
He made this remark while holding talks with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Presidential Palace in Hà Nội on Tuesday. The talks took place following a grand welcome ceremony with a cannon salute for President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his spouse, who were on a State visit to Việt Nam from January 23-24 at the invitation of President Thưởng.
President Võ Văn Thường warmly welcomed the German President, expressing confidence that the visit would provide momentum for the comprehensive strategic partnership between Việt Nam and Germany, for the benefit of the people of both countries, and for peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked President Thưởng for the warm reception. He emphasised the enduring and mutually trusting ties between the two countries over the past nearly 50 years, highlighting the desire to enhance cooperation in various fields with Việt Nam, particularly in trade and investment, energy transition, labour and vocational training, development cooperation, as well as close coordination contributing to regional and global peace and cooperation.
In an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding, both sides exchanged views on major directions and measures to further deepen the Việt Nam-Germany comprehensive strategic partnership, as well as shared concerns about regional and international issues.
Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the robust development of Việt Nam-Germany relations over the past five decades. Political trust between the two countries has been increasingly consolidated through exchanges at all levels.
For many years, Germany has been Việt Nam’s leading economic partner in Europe, and Việt Nam is currently one of Germany’s largest trading partners in Southeast Asia. The bilateral trade volume is estimated to reach approximately US$12 billion in 2023, tripling over the past decade. Germany is the fourth-largest investor among EU countries investing in Việt Nam.
To leverage the strong foundation of the bilateral relationship and the vast cooperation potential between Việt Nam and Germany, both sides agreed to further enhance political trust through high-level exchanges and effective implementation of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the Strategic Dialogue, Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, Government Consultation on Development Cooperation, Dialogue on State Legal Affairs, and efficient coordination in implementing the Việt Nam-Germany Strategic Action Plan for the 2023-25 period.
The two leaders celebrated many positive results achieved in cooperation between the two countries in the field of education and training, especially the Việt Nam – Germany University, a symbolic project of the bilateral relationship, which is operating effectively.
President Võ Văn Thưởng suggested that Germany continue supporting the training of high-quality human resources for Việt Nam and endorsing the expansion and enhanced efficiency of the Việt Nam – Germany University’s activities.
In the economic sector, both sides agreed to continue fully and effectively implementing the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), creating favourable conditions for each country’s strong products to access each other’s markets.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier affirmed that Việt Nam is a reliable economic partner, expressing the desire to strengthen economic cooperation with Việt Nam, especially in terms of investment.
For his part, President Thưởng urged Germany to promptly complete the ratification procedures for the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and encouraged the European Commission (EC) to soon lift the yellow card on Việt Nam’s seafood.
He requested Germany to continue providing Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Việt Nam in the areas of energy, environment, and vocational training.
President Thưởng expressed the hope that Germany would continue to care for and create conditions for the Vietnamese community in Germany to live stably, serving as a bridge and actively contributing to the friendly relations between the two countries.
In reply, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier affirmed the successful integration of the 200,000-strong Vietnamese community in Germany, making positive contributions to the local society.
Regarding climate change, he affirmed Germany’s readiness to support Việt Nam with technology, expertise and finance in implementing the Joint European Transition Partnership (JETP) framework to contribute to achieving Việt Nam’s commitment to zero emissions by 2050 as stated at COP26.
Both leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of security and defence, science and technology, law and agriculture. They also pledged to enhance cultural exchange activities to contribute to increased understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
On the international stage, the two countries agreed to coordinate and support each other in regional and multilateral forums such as ASEAN-Germany, ASEAN-EU, and the United Nations. Regarding the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) issue, the two leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, freedom of navigation and overflight, resolving disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and supporting the substantive and effective negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) between ASEAN and China.
On the same day, National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ met with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The German President expressed his delight that in 2023, cooperation between ministries and sectors of the two countries has been actively implemented, particularly in attracting Vietnamese labour to work in Germany.
He agreed with the NA Chairman that economic cooperation is the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship with great potential. With the aim of enhancing economic and trade exchanges, the German delegation on this occasion includes representatives from German businesses seeking investment and business opportunities in Việt Nam.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that removing administrative barriers is crucial for enhancing economic relations between the two countries. Specifically, on the German side, there is an effort to improve and simplify regulations for receiving specialised labour from Việt Nam.
NA Chairman Huệ affirmed that the Vietnamese National Assembly always listens to opinions and strives to improve the investment and business environment for the business community, including German enterprises. He proposed that the German President continue to support and encourage German businesses to invest in Việt Nam, especially in heavy industry, energy, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and transportation infrastructure.
He highly appreciated the cooperation in high-level exchanges and among specialised committees, friendship parliamentary groups, and consultations at international forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP). This cooperation contributes to mutual understanding and sharing of legislative experience, oversight and decision-making on important national issues.
He emphasised that the Vietnamese National Assembly is perfecting its legal system and expressed the desire for cooperation and exchange of experience with Germany, a European country with a highly developed legal system. — VNS