Sweden was the first Western country that established diplomatic relations with what was then North Vietnam, in January 1969. In spring 1975, the Swedish State signed a lease of 60 years for an embassy plot in Hanoi of 9500 square meters and subsequently established the building between 1977 and 1980 to designs by the architect Bertil Falck. The complex includes seven buildings of one or two floors.
The Swedish Embassy is one of the most well recognized diplomatic areas in and a known landmark in Hanoi. The long wall along the major road Kim Ma is an optimal place for public information. The embassy compound is used for many activities and events, which is appreciated by both the Swedish and international community. The impact of the embassy area and the arrangements on the official and public perception of Sweden in Vietnam should not be underestimated. Sweden has through major investments through aid during many years developed a special relationship and goodwill in Vietnam. This has been fruitful for the bilateral business and trade.
The Swedish Secretary of Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage emphasized the good Sweden-Vietnamese relations with a continuous growth in two-way trade since 2011 that reached over 1 billion USD in 2013. The success of Swedish enterprises in Vietnam shows the attraction of the Vietnamese market to Swedish products (http://www.swedenabroad.com/Pages/StandardPage.aspx?id=71918&epslanguage=en-GB)
The argument that Sweden is in economic hardship has bee brought forward to motivate reductions in costs for foreign relations. However, Sweden have had a steady economic growth, the GDP per capita has increased with 52% between 1993 and 2014, and since the same time last year 2014 the GDP has increased 3,9% according to Peter Wolodarski (published in Dagens Nyheter the 6 December 2015).
Why then, in order to make a small and unsure saving (220.000 USD per year), give away the best marketplace Sweden have in Vietnam that with high certainty contribute to the increase in trade and hence increased tax revenues for the Swedish state, much higher then the small and uncertain saving.
The compound premises could be more effectively utilized by inviting other Swedish authorities, academia entrepreneurs to utilize the area, this could in turn develop to a dynamic and innovative facility that could further boost the Swedish present and growth in Vietnam and the region.
The closedown of the Swedish embassy compound in Hanoi will hence mean an decreased revenue and hence a waste of the investments done during decades.
Initiativtagare: Mattias Larsson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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