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, global free trade and investment, and environmental and climate protection.
With a trade volume of almost 14 billion euros, Germany is Viet Nam’s most important trading partner in the EU. Over 300 German companies are represented in Viet Nam. Total investment amounts to more than 2.3 billion US dollars. This investment has created around 40,000 quality jobs in Viet Nam.
Germany and Viet Nam expect the free trade and investment protection agreements signed by Viet Nam and the EU in mid-2019 to give a further boost to bilateral economic relations as well. The European Parliament agreed on 12 February 2020 to ratify both agreements. Once the European Council and the Vietnamese side give their approval too, probably in spring 2020, the free trade agreement will enter into force immediately. The investment protection agreement still has to be ratified by the individual EU member states.
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 Agreement 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.