Vietnam-born Philipp Roesler, the Vice-Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, began his official visit to Vietnam today (September 17) with a big focus on enhancing the two countries’ economic cooperation. Tuoitrenews had interviewed Roesler before his trip.
Tuoitrenews: Germany currently is Vietnam’s largest business partner in the European Union (EU). Vietnam reached an export turnover of approximately US$2 billion in the first six months of this year with Germany, which is also the EU’s largest market. What do you think about the chances for made-in-Vietnam products in the German market?
Philipp Roesle: Vietnam has emerged as a rapidly growing economy in recent years. The increasing productivity and quality of products and the economic diversifications will help the Vietnamese economy become more competitive in the global market. I think this trend should continue in the future. Education has a high value as it helps provide a large number of human resources to both Vietnamese and German companies. Economic experts and specialists also play an important role in fostering local businesses’ competitiveness. Besides, it is very important to pay attention to the energy efficiency and sustainability of Vietnamese products.
Vietnam has been an important market. Through Vietnam, German companies are hoping to get into the potential Southeast Asian market that has a population of about 600 million.
Meanwhile, the German government has offered excellent conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in all sectors. Vietnamese companies are welcome in Germany.
What do you expect from the trip? What are your opinions about the two countries’ bilateral economic cooperation in the near future?
The economic relationship between Germany and Vietnam is based on mutual trust and cooperation. Many German companies, some of whom are accompanying me on this trip, have been well aware of business opportunities in Vietnam for a long time and wish to boost their ties with Vietnamese partners to a higher level. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit last year and my visit this year are aimed to have highlighted the importance of the Asian market in general and the Vietnamese market in particular in the field of economic cooperation.
As Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics, I’m committed to developing the two countries’ bilateral trade cooperation and supporting Vietnam in negotiating a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU.
With the Hanoi Declaration that was adopted last year in Hanoi, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Chancellor Merkel agreed on a “strategic partnership”. Vietnam and Germany are currently cooperating on many large projects, including Vietnamese-German University (VGU) and Metro line 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. We also wish to turn Ho Chi Minh City into a symbol of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. It needs some certain mutual agreements to realize our wish, though it has made progress.
Did your family accompany you on this trip? If so, do you and your family have any plans to visit other areas of Vietnam?
My family did not go with me this time. This is an official visit to Vietnam to enhance the economic relationships between the two countries. My working schedule is quite tight as I have to meet many Vietnamese officials and businesses for talks.
This is your second trip to Vietnam. Is it different from the first six years ago?
There are naturally big differences between a private and an official trip. But they have their own meanings. Of course, on the first trip, I had more time to explore Vietnam and its people. However, no matter who I am (a normal visitor or a political leader), it is unchangeable and easy to realize Vietnamese people’s hospitality.
I looked forward to the trip as the Federal Minister of Economics of Germany and for a bit too personally. Vietnam is a country with a rich and fascinating history and enormous economic potential, while its people are hard-working and keen on study and always want to make their own contributions to the country’s development and growth. As an individual, Vietnam is part of my life story so I have a certain attachment to this place. However, Germany is still my homeland.
* Tuoitrenews: Thank you!