Wednesday 8 July 2020
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Switzerland opens Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City amid public spending cuts

Switzerland will put its Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City into operation next week after inaugurating its office on Tuesday.

Othmar Hardegger, the newly-appointed Consul General, said during the inauguration ceremony that his Consulate General will open to the public on June 10.

The ceremony was held on the 37th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower in District 1, with the presence of many senior diplomats of Switzerland – including Didier Burkhalter, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Andrej Motyl, Ambassador to Vietnam – and other foreign and Vietnamese diplomats and officials.

Switzerland is considering the closure of some diplomatic missions in many countries around the world to reduce public spending and the opening of new ones to fit the new context so the inauguration of a diplomatic office in Ho Chi Minh City is a step forward in showing the importance of Vietnam in particular, and Southeast Asia in general, in the European country’s foreign policy, Burkhalter said.

Switzerland decided to open the Consulate General after the review and assessment process began two years ago, based on the development potential of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam, the Swiss foreign minister added.

The advantage of a young population, the dynamics of the city and Vietnam, and the fact that the Southeast Asian country has already signed, or is about to ink, many trade agreements with many major foreign partners like the U.S. and the EU also have an impact on Switzerland’s decision, he said.

The history of the Swiss presence in Vietnam dates back to the 19th century when a Swiss trading firm was based in the Indochinese region, which partly led to the opening of the first Swiss consulate in Saigon, the former name of Ho Chi Minh City, in 1926, he added.

“So, today we come back with the new Consulate General and want to be a part of the development of the city, and Vietnam in general,” Burkhalter said.

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