The statement was made by Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Jean Daniel Gerber on May 17 at the Vietnam-Switzerland Business Forum in Zurich city, which was attended by President Nguyen Minh Triet and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem.

Addressing the forum, President Triet expressed his delight at the fine development in the Vietnam-Switzerland relationship, especially in political and economic fields. “This has represented the mutual understanding and close relationship between the two countries. More and more Swiss businesses effectively invested in Vietnam,” he said.

President Triet emphasised that his ongoing visit to Switzerland aims to tighten cooperative ties between the two countries, particularly in trade, economics and investment.

Mr Triet thanked Switzerland for the great assistance to Vietnam through the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, the generalized preferential tariffs (GPT), and especially the official development assistance (ODA) and human resource development programme.

He affirmed that Swiss investors are enjoying favourable conditions in Vietnam thanks to the country’s socio-political stability, high economic growth, good investment environment and big labour and consumption market, as well as its law and policy on foreign investment protection.

Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Jean Daniel Gerber highlighted his visit to Vietnam in July 2009, saying that Swiss businesses have huge opportunities in Vietnam, especially in banking, insurance, service, tourism and pharmaceutical sectors.

He said that over the past 10 years, bilateral trade value has increased five times over, reaching US$2.6 billion in 2009. Currently, Switzerland ranks fourth among Vietnam’s largest export markets.

The same day, Mr Triet met with the President of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), Joseph Blatter. Mr Triet thanked Mr Blatter for his feelings and assistance to Vietnamese football and said he highly valued FIFA’s programmes and projects to help Vietnam develop in the sport. The State president also briefed the FIFA leader on the effectiveness of the GOAL (Greater Opportunity for Athletes to Learn) project being carried out in Vietnam.

President Triet affirmed that Vietnam is professionalizing football step by step and proposed FIFA continue to assist the Vietnam Football Federation in building its infrastructure and training managers and referees at international level. He expressed his wish the FIFA president will create favourable conditions for world strong teams to arrive in Vietnam for friendly matches and support Vietnam in hosting the world junior women football championship in 2012 or 2014.

For his part, FIFA President Blatter confirmed his organization will always provide technical and financial assistance for national football federations, including Vietnam, through projects like GOAL and Asia vision.

Mr Blatter praised Vietnamese football for its recent dramatic progress, especially in terms of professionalization. He expressed his belief that Vietnam will soon reap higher achievements in continental and international football arenas.

President Triet later left Zurich for Bern.

Radio Voice of Vietnam - May 17, 2010