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Asia and Pacific Division
 pd-aap@eda.admin.ch

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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Vietnam

Switzerland is supporting the transition and development process in Vietnam. Although an emerging nation in economic terms, its trade with Switzerland is continuously increasing. Vietnam's wish to strengthen bilateral relations was underlined by the opening of an embassy in Bern in 2000.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Since 1995 Vietnam has been one of the key recipient countries of Swiss development aid. Since 2008, Vietnam has been one of the seven priority countries for economic development cooperation, which is managed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Switzerland has been conducting a human-rights dialogue with the Vietnamese government since 1997.

Economic cooperation

Since the beginning of 2011, Vietnam has been regarded as an emerging nation. In the period 1998–2008, trade between Switzerland and Vietnam increased fivefold. In 2011, the volume of trade between Switzerland and Vietnam was approximately 1.4 billion CHF, with Vietnam enjoying a surplus of 857 million CHF. Since May 2012 negotiations have been underway to draw up a free trade agreement between EFTA and Vietnam.

Cooperation in the domain of education

Scholars and artists from Vietnam can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.

Peacebuilding and human security

Switzerland and Vietnam have been conducting a human-rights dialogue since 1997. Political discussions within the framework of this dialogue are linked to technical projects. The last round of talks took place in May 2012 in Bern.

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Vietnam has been one of the key recipient countries of Swiss development aid delivered under the “Mekong” regional programme. This program is jointly managed by the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Swiss nationals in Vietnam

At the end of 2011, there were 566 Swiss nationals resident in Vietnam, of whom 207 hold dual citizenship.

History of bilateral relations

In 1926 Switzerland opened a consulate in Saigon, and in 1958 a general consulate.

After the war in Indochina came to an end in 1954, the peace negotiations were held in Geneva. Until the outbreak of the Vietnam War, Switzerland already maintained relations with the non-communist South. During the war Switzerland provided both South and North Vietnam with humanitarian aid. In 1971 – before the end of the war – Switzerland established diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Switzerland was one of the first western countries to do so.

In 2000, Vietnam opened an embassy in Bern. The first official visit of a Swiss President took place in August 2008. In 2011, Vietnam and Switzerland celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations.