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Chairman discusses businesses with Austrian firms

Chairman of the National Assembly Vương Đình Huệ speaks to Austrian firms at an event organised by the Embassy of Việt Nam in Austria and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna. — VGP Photo

VIENNA, Austria — Chairman of the National Assembly Vương Đình Huệ on Tuesday held a series of meetings with executives from large European firms during his trip to the 5th World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments (WCSP5) in Vienna, Austria.

Huệ met with German Aone Deutschland AG of Tilia GmbH and Strabag, two of the world's leading real estate, water treatment and resource management firms, who have been working on a number of projects in Việt Nam. 

The chairman asked the firms to stay in touch and work together with their Vietnamese partners and government agencies, saying their projects were of great importance to urban development in the Southeast Asian country. 

He also held meetings with Austrian IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, WeForYou and Christof System groups. He encouraged the university to step up cooperation with Vietnamese universities in research and development and educational exchanges, especially digitalisation, medical and technical fields. 

Wolfgang Nestler, managing director at Christof System GmbH, said his firm has been following the development of waste treatment in Việt Nam, especially medical waste. The firms also showed interest in joining the country's energy and healthcare sectors. 

The treatment of waste, including medical waste, was one of Việt Nam's top development priorities. The leader stressed the importance of sustainable and environmental friendly socioeconomic development. 

Huệ thanked WeForYou for their donation of 30,000 medical-grade N95 masks and 10,000 COVID-19 test kits and said Việt Nam welcomed the group to join hands with Vietnamese agencies in R&D projects and to produce medical supplies, especially those required to check the spread of the coronavirus.  

The chairman attended a meeting jointly organised by the Embassy of Việt Nam in Austria and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and discussed business development with representatives from 20 leading Austrian firms in finance, banking, medicine, law and energy. 

Richard Schenz, vice-president of the chamber, said Austrian firms had been generally happy in Việt Nam and they had been looking for new investment opportunities to strengthen their supply chain.

With Austria being the first international trip since his election to Chairman of the National Assembly, Huệ said Việt Nam valued the EU and Austria as important trade partners. 

He said the highest priorities in foreign investment Việt Nam was looking for how technologically advanced and environmentally friendly projects were.

He said the country was willing to create the most favourable conditions for those who meet criteria to thrive and integrate into the regional supply chain. 

Việt Nam-EU import/export turnover reached US$56 billion in 2020. The EU was Việt Nam's sixth largest FDI partner with a total investment of US$22 billion. The recently ratified European Union–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to bring bilateral trade to the next level. 

Việt Nam is ASEAN's third-largest economy and among the world's top 40 economies with annual GDP of over $350 billion. The country with its 100 million population and the growing middle class is among the top 20 of the world's top receivers of FDI.

On the topic of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), the chairman urged EU lawmakers to speed up the ratification of the investment agreement, saying it would serve as the foundation for future bilateral cooperation of strategic areas such as clean energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, digital commerce and biotech. 

He said Việt Nam was looking forward to the early finalisation of the agreement. 

"It's important for EVFTA and EVIPA to work in tandem to protect the rights and interests of European and Vietnamese investors," Huệ said.

At the event, Minister of Investment and Planning Nguyễn Chí Dũng and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Minh Hoan answered questions from Austrian firms on Việt Nam's long-term socioeconomic development plan and priorities. 

Dũng said the country's top objective at the moment was to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as restore and strengthen its production and supply chain. 

"We have been pushing the largest vaccination drive in the nation's history. Our objective is to successfully check the spread of the virus by the end of September and to have the situation under control in the last quarter of the year," said Dũng. — VNS

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