What are the significant milestones in the relationship between Vietnam and the Czech Republic since diplomatic relations were established in 1950?

Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic has walked hand-in-hand with Vietnam for a long time, and indeed was just the third country in the world to recognize independent Vietnam. Since then, our relations have been strengthened every year. More than a quarter of a million Vietnamese citizens obtained an education or vocational training in the 70s and 80s in Czechoslovakia and we still build upon those close ties today.

As a result of the strong Vietnamese presence and their importance for my country, the Czech Government officially recognized the Vietnamese community as an ethnic minority group in 2013, giving them extensive rights.

Most recently, during Covid-19, it was again the Vietnamese minority in our country that set an example of how to tackle the pandemic, and gave away masks to Czech citizens for free. Conversely, we provided almost a million doses of vaccines to Vietnam, which made it the No. 1 recipient of vaccines from the Czech Republic. All of this illustrates how close our countries and especially our people are.

What role does the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA) play in promoting trade between the two countries?

I firmly believe that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA), which entered into force over two years ago, provides new impetus for an influx of Czech investors to Vietnam. The agreement removes most of the trade barriers between the EU and Vietnam and, together with the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EUVIPA), creates ideal preconditions for the further growth of European and thus Czech investments in Vietnam.

What are your views on Vietnam’s investment environment for Czech businesses?

Vietnam has significantly improved conditions for international investors over the past decade and has become an attractive investment destination for Czech companies. Czech businesses have already invested more than $90 million in over 30 investment projects in Vietnam and we believe that this positive trend will continue.

Successful entrepreneurs from the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic hold a significant position among Czech investors in Vietnam. We are also starting to register interest among Vietnamese companies about investing in the Czech Republic. We are ready to offer favorable investment conditions to Vietnamese investors.

How you view investment by Czech investors in Vietnam? What should Vietnam do to attract more investment from the Czech Republic?

A number of Czech investments in Vietnam are done by entrepreneurs of Vietnamese origin who have built successful businesses in the Czech Republic and are now expanding their business activities to Vietnam. These investments are, for example, in the field of tourism, such as luxury hotels along Vietnam’s coast, agriculture, food, medicine distribution, and other sectors.

Once the EUVIPA enters into force, more European investors, including those from the Czech Republic, will be increasingly attracted to Vietnam. The agreement will address the liberalization of indirect investments, establish a procedure for settling disputes between investors, and ensure a much-needed level of investment security for both parties. Czech investors need fundamental rules they can rely on.