(MPI) - Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong and Director General for Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Jeroen Cooreman co-chaired the 6th Joint Economic Commission meeting Vietnam-Belgium in Hanoi on November 15.
MPI Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong at the meeting. Photo: MPI
Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong highlighted the significance of the 6th meeting, especially when Vietnam and Belgium will celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2023. He said, Vietnam highly appreciates marked achievements in bilateral and economic cooperation between the two countries in recent years; and wishes to continue forging economic cooperation with Belgium in promising fields and implement more substantive activities to bring the traditional relationship to a new period.
The deputy minister thanked the Government and people of Belgium for providing vaccines and medical equipment for Vietnam, considering it a demonstration of a deep friendship between the two nations.
Vietnam and Belgium are facing great challenges caused by the pandemic but the two sides still prioritise and enhance cooperation in both political and economic fields; and always attach importance to developing its traditional and good relations, he added.
Vietnam-Belgium joint projects and programmes may be affected by the unpredictable world economic situation, Phuong noted, but with the determination of the Government, ministries of Vietnam and the companionship of the Government of Belgium, the partnership between Vietnam and Belgium will be further consolidated.
Belgian Director General for Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jeroen Cooreman. Photo: MPI
For his part, Jeroen Cooreman lauded the dynamic and fast-growing economy of Vietnam as well as its role in the international arena. He said, the Vietnam-Belgium good and traditional relations is reflected through trade ties.
Jereon highlighted contributions to deepen the Vietnam-Belgium relationship through the implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), suggesting the two countries continue cooperating closely and take full advantage of opportunities from EVFTA to intensify bilateral trade and investment.
Briefing the bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium, Duong Hung Cuong, Deputy Director of Department for Foreign Economic Relations, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment said, to date, Belgium ranked 23th out of 139 countries and territories; and 6th out of 24 members in the European Union investing in Vietnam with 82 valid projects worth 1.1 billion USD, accounting for 1.3% of total FDI capital.
Belgian investors have invested in 15 out of 21 economic sectors in Vietnam, focusing on water management and wastewater treatment (with a total registered capital of 409 million USD); real estate business (with a total registered capital of 372 million USD); and processing and manufacturing industry (with a total registered capital of 229.8 million USD).
The cooperation relationship between Vietnam and Belgium is carried out on various channels. In addition to official development assistance provided by the Belgian Government through the FINEXPO mechanism, Vietnam has also received support from the Belgian government, Belgian regions (Wallonia-Brussels) and non-governmental organisations.
Within the framework of cooperation between the MPI and the Wallonia-Brussels diplomatic agencies, at the 11th meeting of Permanent Inter-Committee between the government of Vietnam and the Wallonia-Brussels, the two sides approved 27 projects in the 2022-2024 period. In addition, Vietnam and Belgium have coordinated to implement some cooperation projects through universities and NGOs, especially in education and training.
Regarding trade, in the first eight months of 2022, Vietnam’s export turnover to Belgium reached over 2.86 billion USD, up 25.2%; and import turnover reached 471.7 million USD, up 45.4% compared to the same period in 2021. Belgium is one of the gateway for products of Vietnam to enter the EU market.
Vietnam hopes to expand economic and trade cooperation with Belgium with focus on the areas of Belgium’s strength and Vietnam’s demand such as renewable energy, smart agriculture, logistics, digital economy, response with climate change and sustainable industry. Vietnam also called for specific activities to contribute to the National Strategy on Green Growth for the period 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, towards a green, carbon-neutral economy.
At the meeting, the two sides reached a consensus to boosting collaboration in such fields as environment, energy, health medicine, education-training; and noted some obstacles faced by Belgian investors while doing business in Vietnam. They also agreed to become an outstanding example of the cooperation between ASEAN and EU.
Ministry of Planning and Investment