In a strategic move to diversify economic engagements, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accompanied by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and a delegation of business leaders from leading German industrial firms, arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday. The visit to Hanoi is part of Germany’s efforts to mitigate economic risks associated with its dependency on China.
The tour, spanning four days across Southeast Asia, emphasizes Germany’s keen interest in expanding economic relations beyond China. Florian Feyerabend, the representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Vietnam, highlighted the significance of the visit in fostering economic diversity.
President Steinmeier’s agenda in Vietnam commenced with a warm welcome by President Vo Van Tthuong, followed by participation in a career fair at the Goethe-Institut in Hanoi. The leaders are expected to engage in talks and sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at facilitating the movement of skilled workers from Vietnam to Germany.
The economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City will be the focus of Wednesday’s activities, followed by a two-day visit to Thailand. German companies actively participating in this trade mission include Herrenknecht, a dominant force in the global tunnel boring machine market, already contributing tools for a subway project in Ho Chi Minh City.
Building materials giant Knauf and adhesive manufacturer Tesa, which have existing operations in Southeast Asia, are also part of the delegation. PNE AG, a wind farm developer, joins the mission at a time when Vietnam is seeking to expand its offshore wind sector.
The German Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam highlighted that German companies have invested over $3 billion (€2.8 billion) in the manufacturing hub, with Bosch, an automotive supplier, leading the investment charge. Germany holds a crucial position as Vietnam’s most significant trading partner in the European Union, while Vietnam remains a key partner for Germany within the ASEAN states.