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 also been one of the seven priority countries for economic development cooperation carried out under the lead management of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland has been conducting a human rights dialogue with the Vietnamese government.
Since the beginning of 2011, Vietnam has been regarded as an emerging nation. There has been a sharp increase in bilateral trade between Switzerland and Vietnam since the Asian crisis of 1998. The trade volume between Switzerland and Vietnam was approximately CHF 1.03 billion in 2013. EFTA and Vietnam have been negotiating a free trade agreement since 2012.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Scholars and artists from Vietnam can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SEFRI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Peacebuilding and human security
In 1997 Switzerland and Vietnam agreed to hold an annual human rights dialogue (suspended from 1999 to 2005). The last round took place in August of 2014.
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 regional programme is jointly managed by the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Switzerland is supporting the transition process and is active in the following areas:
- Rural livelihoods and sustainable use of resources
- Good governance
- Economic development with a focus on support for the private sector
Swiss nationals in Vietnam
At the end of 2014, there were 600 Swiss nationals living in Vietnam, 262 of whom had dual citizenship.
History of bilateral relations
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.
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 Vietnam War, Switzerland provided humanitarian aid both in South Vietnam and in North Vietnam. 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 1926 Switzerland opened a consulate in Saigon, and in 1958 a general consulate.