Viet Nam News
In a message on the occasion of Denmark’s Constitution Day, June 5, Ambassador Charlotte Laursen asserts that the country will play an active role in Việt Nam’s future development.
Denmark’s Constitution of 1849 marked the beginning of the Danish democratic system and culture. The charter established Denmark as a constitutional monarchy and defined our fundamental civil rights, including the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Fast-forward to 2017, our constitution and its imbedded values remain the foundation of our society and our position in a globalised world. That is why we celebrate the Danish Constitution Day today.
Partners through knowledge sharing
On the global scene, Denmark is an active partner. We aim to contribute to topics and sectors in which we have special skills, know-how or experience, no matter if these are with the State or with private companies. Some of these topics and sectors are energy, environment, food safety, health and education, which also happen to be selected as focus areas for the new Việt Nam-Denmark strategic sector co-operation, as also sectors where we have strong commercial co-operation with Việt Nam.
Over the years, Việt Nam-Denmark co-operation has been strengthened through official development assistance (ODA) with a focus on poverty reduction, capacity building, environmental protection, etc. Denmark has contributed US$1.3 billion in ODA grants since 1993.
Though our co-operation has changed, Denmark continues to be a committed and active partner in Việt Nam’s future growth and development.
With the relatively new tool, strategic sector co-operation, introduced in 2015 under the ‘Partnering with Denmark’ concept, we are able to focus more on matching modern Danish technology and know-how with Việt Nam’s goal of becoming a higher middle-income country by 2035.
It is a partnership of knowledge sharing and technical assistance between Vietnamese and Danish ministries with the aim of promoting sustainable and responsible growth in tandem with creating jobs and prosperity in both countries.
The selection procedure for the sectors under this initiative has been meticulous and the interest among Danish ministries for co-operating with Việt Nam was both very positive and very strong. Four Danish ministries were selected in the end for the new type of bilateral co-operation.
Following thorough discussions on Việt Nam’s strategic needs, the ministries of both countries have approved four projects. Two growth counsellors have joined the embassy to initiate and support implementation of these projects. The focus on food safety, environment, health and vocational education is obviously very broad, but a considerable joint Vietnamese-Danish effort has been devoted to carving out the specific areas of co-operation and intervention, which is quite encouraging and a first step to success.
In early May, the Danish Minister for Development Co-operation, Ulla Tørnæs, visited Việt Nam, cementing our good bilateral strategic partnership and underlining Denmark’s commitment – especially within the Strategic Sector Co-operation.
Partners through trade
The rapid development of bilateral trade between Việt Nam and Denmark is another way in which we are an active partner. In fact, the total value of bilateral trade in goods increased more than four times between 2005 and 2015 and Danish investments in Việt Nam nearly tripled during this period. Denmark has become the region’s largest per capita exporter of goods to Việt Nam, at 65 euros in 2016.
The figures illustrate the strong interest of Danish companies in doing business in Việt Nam. Today over 130 Danish companies are established in Việt Nam, with a majority in the area of production, thanks to Việt Nam’s diligent and qualified workforce.
Famous Danish production companies in Việt Nam are operating in textiles, footwear, furniture, electronics and software. These companies include ECCO (shoes), Scancom (furniture) and Sonion (hearing aids).
Another example of success is the retail company JYSK, which has opened a number of furniture shops in both Hà Nội and HCM City.
But Danish exports to Việt Nam also include live breeding pigs, large scale pig farming equipment and animal feed, thereby supporting food safety in the Vietnamese value chain. We also help with environmentally-friendly solutions like energy efficient pumps for the water management sector, and windmills for production of clean energy. These, and many other similar Danish products and solutions support Việt Nam in turning its high growth rates into sustainable development.
On the top of this, Denmark has proven experience and technical solutions in key areas like flood control and solid waste management, which can support sustainable development of large Vietnamese cities. We therefore hope more Danish companies will look towards Việt Nam and enhance commerce and investment co-operation.
The outlook is positive for Danish businesses and other EU companies in Việt Nam with the new EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) expected to come into effect in 2018. The EVFTA represents an important platform for co-operation between our two countries and we strongly believe that the pact will deliver mutual benefit.
Denmark stands ready to continue working with Việt Nam on the challenges and solutions ahead. We will remain a committed and active partner in Việt Nam’s future development. — VNS