Swedish Ambassador Pereric Hogberg spoke at the press conference

“Exactly 50 years ago today, on January 11
th, 1969; Sweden became the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam. The Government of Sweden and the Swedish people expressed support for and solidarity with the Vietnamese people. Soon thereafter, the first Embassy of Sweden was opened at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel,” he stressed.

Sweden was the first bilateral donor in sectors such as local governance, judicial reform, media, transparency, anti-corruption, gender equality and sustainability.

According to the ambassador, even though bilateral development cooperation ended in 2013, it is important to remember that Sweden still provides substantial assistance to the Vietnamese people through our regional aid programs in the Mekong, and via EU and UN aid budgets to Vietnam.

This partnership is not only a government to government relation, but also between the Swedish people and the Vietnamese people. Over the years, thousands of Vietnamese have taken part in training programs in Sweden, studied at Swedish universities, and worked for Swedish companies. Thousands of Swedes have lived and worked in Vietnam. Last year, more than 50,000 Swedes visited Vietnam.

He affirmed that due to massive economic growth and successful reforms Vietnam is a middle-income country. Thus, the two countries have taken steps towards a more equal partnership. The core of the bilateral relationship has shifted primarily to business and trade, which have become increasingly important for both sides in a globalized economy.

The bilateral trade now reaches above USD1 billion per year with potential for a strong increase. Currently, some of the largest and most successful multinational corporations of Sweden such as ABB, Ericsson, H&M, IKEA, Volvo, AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, SKF, Tetra Pak, Electrolux and many others.

He believed even though the relationship has changed over the years, Sweden continues to be committed to Vietnam’s future. This year, many new steps in a strengthened partnership will be taken.

In his speech at the event, Dinh Toan Thang, Head of the European Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Vietnam always remembers and appreciates the sincere and tremendous support in the spirit and material of the Swedish government and people in the early period of national independence and the later development stage.”

“Vietnam and Sweden still maintain close ties, continue to work towards close partnerships on the basis of sharing common goals about sustainable development and a world of peace and cooperation,” he added.

Under the framework of the commemorative year of 2019, the two sides will work to organize a series of important events, including 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’s Day in Sweden, the choir program performed by Swedish artists in Vietnam and a number of education and training promotion programs./.

Minh Van - Van Anh