H.E. Ilkka-Pekka Similä is Finland’s new Ambassor to Vietnam, who assumed his duties on 1 September 2015 (arriving from his previous four-year stint as Ambassador to Abu Dhabi).
Later in October Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang also received the new Finnish Ambassador, assuring him all possible support.
During the reception the state leader thanked the government and people of Finland for their non-refundable aid worth around 340 million USD to Vietnam.
The President hoped that with strengths in information technology and forestry, Finland would provide continued support for Vietnam in green economic and sustainable environment development, and natural resource management. The Finnish Ambassador vowed to liaise with Vietnamese ministries and agencies concerned to strengthen coordination across information technology and green environment
In his welcoming note on the embassy website, “Welcome to the Embassy of Finland in Hanoi”, ambassador Similä writes that the primary work of embassy in Vietnam is promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries as well as supporting Finnish businesses interested in Vietnam. Development cooperation and consular and immigration services are the Embassy’s other two main sectors.
“Diplomatic relations between Finland and Vietnam were established in 1973. Thanks to decades of development cooperation Finland is well known in Vietnam. ‘Finnish water’ (Nuoc Phan Lan) is a concept especially in the northern cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, where Finland had a big role in bringing clean water to the cities in the 1980’s and 90’s. Finland’s achievements in other sectors such as education, forestry and information technology are well known as well. Vietnam also considers Finland a model for how to develop innovation policies.
“For many years the relations between our two nations have been based on development cooperation. In addition to bilateral development projects other instruments such as concessional credits and funds for local cooperation have been used. As Vietnam reached the status of middle income country in 2010, Finland is working towards concluding our bilateral cooperation projects in the coming years. We are now in a transition phase, moving from development cooperation to broader and mutually beneficial forms of cooperation. The main goals in this transition phase are to ensure the sustainability of the development cooperation results and to create the conditions for the emergence of new partnerships in different sectors. The positive image of Finland in Vietnam offers a solid ground for further enhancement of our bilateral relations.”
“Vietnam has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world and offers vast business opportunities for Finnish companies in fields such as education, ICT, water supply, sanitation, waste management and smart city solutions. Through our Team Finland network we will continue to assist Finnish companies and operators interested in the Vietnamese markets. In addition to the Embassy in Hanoi, the Finpro trade office in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam is part of Team Finland Vietnam.”
The ambassador goes on to highlight the consular services as a core function of the embassy, as every year about 10 000 Finns visit Vietnam. An estimated 100 Finns are living in Vietnam and about 7500 ethnic Vietnamese are living in Finland, most of them Finnish citizens.
Source: VNA, Embassy of Finland in Vietnam