A prominent German business delegation, featuring key players in tunnel machines, wind farms, and industrial supplies, is accompanying President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on a visit to Vietnam starting Tuesday. This visit aligns with Berlin's strategy to diversify economic ties, emphasizing Vietnam's significance as a partner to broaden activities beyond China. German companies have already invested over $3 billion in Vietnam, with Bosch as a major contributor, according to the German chamber of commerce in Vietnam.
During the visit, President Steinmeier and German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on skilled labor mobility with their Vietnamese counterparts. The agreement aims to facilitate the transfer of Vietnamese workers to Germany.
Among the companies participating in the business mission is Herrenknecht, a global leader in tunnel boring machines. It is actively involved in supplying tools for the construction of the metro in Ho Chi Minh City, aligning with Vietnam's plans to expand its railway and metro systems.
Wind farm developer PNE AG is also part of the delegation, possibly seeking opportunities in Vietnam's planned expansion in the offshore wind sector, despite regulatory delays. Building materials multinational Knauf Gips KG and automotive sector supplier Tesa are among other participants, both of which already have operations in Vietnam.
The visit underscores Germany's interest in diversifying economic relations beyond China, demonstrating its commitment to exploring opportunities in Vietnam. The expected labor agreement is part of Germany's strategy to recruit skilled workers from abroad, reflecting the historical movement of Vietnamese workers to East Germany in the 1980s.
President Steinmeier's visit, delayed by a year due to a political reshuffle in Vietnam, follows German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's trip to Hanoi in November 2022. The visit signals Berlin's growing interest in Vietnam, with meetings planned in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City during this diplomatic mission.