Since 2011, Germany and Viet Nam have had a “strategic partnership” involving cooperation projects at all levels and in numerous policy fields. Relations are shaped by the many different intersocietal contacts. Germany and Viet Nam regard themselves as partners in endeavours to uphold the rules-based order, respect for international law, multilateralism and environmental and climate protection.
The partnership was dented by the kidnapping of a Vietnamese national from Berlin by Vietnamese state agencies in July 2017. Following confidence-building measures by the Vietnamese Government, the strategic partnership, which had been suspended, was revived in November 2018.
With a trade volume of almost 14 billion euros, Germany is Viet Nam’s most important trading partner in the EU. Some 300 German companies are represented in Viet Nam, with total investment amounting to around 1.8 billion US dollars. Germany and Viet Nam expect the free trade and investment protection agreement signed with the EU in mid-2019, which could enter into force in the first half of 2020 following the ratification process, to give a further boost to bilateral economic relations.
Development cooperation is another important element in relations between Germany and Viet Nam. Cooperation in the priority areas vocational training, energy and the environment is geared to Viet Nam’s Green Growth Strategy. In this way, Germany wants to help Viet Nam to pursue growth which protects natural resources, preserves biodiversity and is in keeping with the goals of the Paris climate summit and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Bilateral cultural relations are developing well. Many cultural, academic and scientific institutions (including the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Goethe-Institut, the Vietnamese-German University and the Federal Office of Administration - Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA)) are active in Viet Nam. The more than 100,000 Vietnamese who have worked or studied in Germany form a unique bridge between the two countries, sustaining and increasing mutual interest.