Cooperation between Vietnam and Finland dates back to 1973, when the two countries established diplomatic relations. I assumed my work as the Finnish ambassador to Vietnam on 1st September 2011, and I am honored to continue the efforts of my predecessors in deepening relations between Vietnam and Finland.
In spite of the long distance between the countries, Finland is relatively well known here. We are happy about the positive image of Finland in Vietnam –"Finnish water" is a concept in Hanoi and Haiphong, and Finland's achievements for example in developing the educational system, the forest sector and information technology are well known.
Since 1979 Finland has provided about 370 million euros of development assistance to Vietnam. The three main sectors Finland is currently supporting are 1) water supply and sanitation, 2) forestry and 3) knowledge society. Concessional credits and Fund for Local Cooperation are some of the many development cooperation instruments which Finland has used to support Vietnam. Now we are in a transition stage moving from development cooperation to wider and mutually beneficial forms of cooperation. The main goals are to ensure the sustainability of the results and to create the conditions for the emergence of partnerships in different sectors.
Another one of the Embassy's core functions is to help Finnish companies through Team Finland. Trade between Vietnam and Finland reached 225 million euros in 2013, of which imports from Finland were 136 million. Exports grew by 20 per cent from the previous year. About 75 Finnish companies are represented here in Vietnam. Besides the Embassy, also Finpro's office in Ho Chi Minh City serves to help companies.
Offering reliable consular services is the third vital task of our embassy. Every year about 11 000 – 12 000 Finns visit Vietnam. We estimate that there is about 130 Finns living in Vietnam, and about 7500 ethnic Vietnamese, most of them Finnish citizens, living in Finland. We manage passport, visa and notary services and give assistance to Finnish citizens in distress. If needed, people are also assisted by our Honorary Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City.
We provide expertise and information to all who are interested in Finland and in Finnish-Vietnamese relations. We also provide useful information on our homepages to Finnish and Vietnamese travelers.
In order to be able to help in crisis situations, I encourage all Finns staying in Vietnam to report their contact information to us via "matkustusilmoitus.fi"; a service provided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Besides using these web-pages, the embassy will use Facebook, Twitter and e-mail to provide information in crisis situations. We also serve our customers by phone and at embassy’s facilities. You can help us to develop our services by giving us your feedback.
I wish you welcome to our web-page!