|Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam Hans Peter Glanzer
So said Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam Hans Peter Glanzer during an interview granted for Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper, ahead of the 2023 Lunar New Year Festival.
Reporter: In 2022, Vietnam and Austria celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Half a century has passed, and the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Austria has been actively developing, creating a new driving force for the promotion of cooperation between the two countries in diverse areas. How do you evaluate the prospects of cooperation between Vietnam and Austria in the coming time?
Ambassador Hans Peter Glanzer: The 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which we celebrated last year, provided an excellent opportunity to take stock of the partnership between our two countries. By the way, Austria was one of the first Western European countries to establish such relations. Throughout the last 50 years, Vietnam and Austria have developed excellent relations in a broad spectrum of areas, from the political, to the economic and the cultural. I see great potential for further deepening our friendly relations.
Reporter: In recent years, economic cooperation has become a pillar and brought practical benefits to the people of the two countries. Austria is continuously one of the top 10 trade partners of Vietnam in the European Union (EU). However, the result has been assessed to be not commensurate with the potential and opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and Austria. In your opinion, in the coming time, what should we do to further strengthen economic, trade and investment relations between the two sides?
Ambassador Hans Peter Glanzer: The economic field has indeed become an important part of our bilateral relationship and shown remarkable development. The trade volume has increased manifold since 2000 and reached in 2021 an overall volume of EUR1.4 billion with a high surplus in favor of Vietnam. We are seeing a further increase in 2022. This positive trend has been further strengthened by Vietnam’s Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
Around 50 Austrian companies have branches in Vietnam. There is room for more Austrian investment in Vietnam. We see prospects of increased cooperation in areas such as environmental technology, (renewable) energy, vocational training, tourism, agriculture, sustainable – in particular urban - transport solutions, and healthcare infrastructure.
In order to promote our trade and investment relations, an Office of the Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy was opened in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019. The Commercial Section is organizing trade missions, including business fora, with companies from Austria, to generate more interest for doing business and investing in Vietnam.
Reporter: As Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Vietnam, in 2023, what action plan do you have and what recommendations do you make to promote cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas Austria has strengths and Vietnam has needs, such as renewable energy, response to climate change, waste treatment and processing industry?
Ambassador Hans Peter Glanzer: We, the Embassy, respectively the Commercial Section, will continue with the mentioned activities, in particular by bringing economic delegations to Vietnam. There is indeed great potential in the field of environmental technology: Austrian companies have a lot offer, for example in the field of renewable energy. In Austria around 33% of our total energy consumption (and close to 80% of the electricity) is covered by “renewables”, in particular hydro power.
Reporter: Over the past time, the relationship between Vietnam and Austria has grown increasingly well in both bilateral and multilateral aspects, such as in the framework of Vietnam - EU relations and in multilateral mechanisms to which the two countries are members. The two sides have affirmed to continue to closely coordinate and support each other at multilateral forums and organizations such as the United Nations, ASEM and ASEAN-EU. In your opinion, what does this mean for increasing the two countries’ position and voices in international affairs?
Ambassador Hans Peter Glanzer: We are faced with multiple challenges and crises at a global level which require cooperation and solidarity as well as a strong multilateral system more than ever.
Thus, it is important, also in the very own interest of our two countries, that Vietnam and Austria pursue an active multilateralism in their foreign policies both at a global and regional level. Given the enormous challenges, we are called upon to strengthen our common engagement for a rules based international order, tackling climate change, as well as promoting an open and fair environment for trade and investment, including decent work conditions.
Reporter: After more than 1 year as Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Vietnam, what is your impression of our country's development achievements? On the occasion of the Lunar New Year Festival, what message would you like to send to readers of the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper?
Ambassador Hans Peter Glanzer: I am impressed by the very remarkable socioeconomic progress which Vietnam has achieved over the last decades. On a personal note: I am enjoying my stay in Vietnam very much. From my travels I got a good impression of the beauty of country, its diversity and its rich cultural heritage. I find the people of Vietnam very friendly and forthcoming.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year I would like to send your readers the following wishes:
May the New Year bless you with health, happiness and prosperity!
Reporter: Thank you very much!