The Finnish Government took the decision to recognise the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as early as on the 28th of December 1972. A joint communiqué on the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the two governments was issued on the 25th of January 1973. This was two days before the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace In Vietnam was signed. In the same year, the Government of Finland took a decision to include Vietnam on the list of long-term partner countries of the Finnish development co-operation. This decision soon materialised into concrete action. The Finnish Embassy in Hanoi was set up in 1974. Finland confirmed its relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, after the unification of the country in 1975.
Development co-operation in its initial phase comprised humanitarian assistance. Negotiations for long-standing development assistance started soon after the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The Finnish long-term development assistance first focused on one major infrastructure project – the Pha Rung Repair Shipyard project near Haiphong. The project was supported from 1979 through 1991. The Finnish support to the project totalled about 46 million euro. The other big infrastructure projects financed by Finland have been the Hanoi water supply project 1985-2001, Finnish assistance totalling 84 million euro, and the Haiphong water supply and sanitation project 1990-2004, Finnish assistance totalling 24 million euro. Since then, there has been other important development assistance projects also in the field of forestry, poverty reduction and rural development.
Disbursements of Finnish bilateral assistance to Vietnam totalled 13 million euro in 2005. The volume of aid is on the increase. It is to be expected that with the graduation of Vietnam from a low-income country into a middle-income country (around 2010), the level of Finnish bilateral grant assistance will gradually start to decline as Vietnam’s needs for grant assistance will decrease.
Trade and investment relations between Finland and Vietnam are still rather modest. However, there has been a clear increase in the trade figures in recent years, the annual growth rate of bilateral trade being about 20-40 per cent. The bilateral two-way trade between the two countries amounted approximately 180 million euros in 2010.
The promotion of mutual trade and investment is a shared objective of Finland and Vietnam. The rapid economic growth of Vietnam, coupled with the structural reforms of the economy, is a good basis for developing trade and investment relations. Vietnam's membership in WTO has further increased the attractiveness of Vietnam as a trading and investment partner.
There have been a number of high level visits between the two countries recently. The Finnish Minister for Development and Foreign Trade, Paula Lehtomäki, visited Vietnam with a strong business delegation in 2004. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen visited Vietnam in connection with the Asia-Europe Meeting, ASEM 5 Summit organised by Vietnam. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Finnish parliament visited Vietnam in 2005. Two other Finnish parliamentary delegations also visited Vietnam in 2005: Sub-committee of the Committee for Security and Defence, and the Social Affairs Committee. Most recently, President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, visited Vietnam in the beginning of 2008 together with Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen and a high-level business delegation.
The Vietnamese Defence Minister General Pham Van Tra visited Finland in 2004. In the same year, the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Mr Vu Khoan also visited Finland. During the Asia-Europe Meeting ASEM 6 Summit, which took place in Finland in Autumn 2006, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Finland. In addition to these visits, representatives of several parliamentary committees of the Vietnamese National Assembly have visited Finland recently.
The high-level visits have offered possibilities for an exchange of views on a broad range of issues. In addition to development co-operation, and to developing trade and investment, topics such as human rights, good governance and rule of law have been on the agenda.
Vietnam opened its Embassy in Helsinki at the end of 2005. The setting up of the Embassy is an important step towards consolidating the relations between the two countries, especially in promoting trade and investment relations between Finland and Vietnam.
Embassy of Vietnam in Finland
Kulosaarentie 12, 00570 Helsinki
Tel. (+358 9) 622 9900
Fax. (+358 9) 622 99022
Mobile: 050 544 8803/04
050 544 8804
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9-12 and 14-17.