Foreign media reported on Nov. 13 local time that German Chancellor Schulz discussed energy and trade relations with Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính during his visit to Hanoi on Sunday, which was the German leader’s first trip to Vietnam in more than a decade.
Schulz’s stop in Vietnam on his way to the G20 summit in Indonesia underscored Vietnam’s increasingly important role in the global supply chain. In fact, many German companies are considering diversifying their manufacturing operations, especially moving out from Communist China.
Currently, only Vietnam and Singapore in Southeast Asia have signed free trade agreements with the EU. They are the EU’s largest trading partners in the region. According to the data, Germany is Vietnam’s second largest trading partner among EU countries after the Netherlands, with a trade volume of $7.8 billion last year, much lower than the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.
Among the 5,000 German companies operating in China, a growing number of them are seeking alternative countries to shift some of their operations. More than 90 percent of them plan to regard Southeast Asia as their first choice, considering Vietnam and Thailand as the most popular destinations in the region.