He made the request at a reception in Hanoi on January 31 for the diplomat, who was the first foreign diplomat invited to the Government Office after Tet, the Vietnamese traditional New Year.
Speaking at the meeting, Phuc said he is happy to see the bilateral ties between Vietnam and Sweden thriving over years, especially at a time when the two nations are organizing many activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.
Sweden is Vietnam’s important and trustworthy partner in the EU, he said, noting that the two-way trade has been on the rise, reaching US$ 1.5 billion in 2018 and US$ 1.2 billion in the first three quarters of last year. Swedish investors currently operate 67 projects, worth a total US$ 364 million, in Vietnam, he added.
The PM said the figures fail to match the two countries’ potential so the ambassador should work to boost the bilateral trade and investment.
Ambassador Ann Mawe, for her part, said 2019 saw the exchange of many high-level visits between the two countries, highlighting the visit of PM Phuc to Sweden and of Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria Ingrid Alice Désiree to Vietnam.
She also congratulated Vietnam on its assumption of ASEAN Chair in 2020 and a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2020 – 2021 term.
The diplomat suggested the two countries further enhance cooperation in innovation, the field Sweden holds strength, as well as in aviation, among others.
She noted that the Sweden – Southeast Asia Business Summit will take place in the next two weeks, providing a good opportunity for leading Swedish companies to learn about ASEAN nations’ view on economic growth and to promote trade and investment between the two sides.
Sweden highly values Vietnam’s major steps in anti-corruption and the newly-adopted labour standards which are in line with international practices, Mawe said.
PM Phuc agreed with the Swedish ambassador on the promotion of high-level visits and expressed his wish to welcome the Swedish PM to visit Vietnam soon.
He also asked Sweden to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) to bring benefits to firms and people of both sides.
The PM expected to see more Swedish corporations arrive in Vietnam to further lift the bilateral trade and the investment inflow into Vietnam, contributing to strengthening the two countries’ relations.