Vietnam, Belgium enjoy growing 50-year ties
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) and his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo witness the signing of cooperation deals between the two countries after their talks in Brussels. (Source: VNA)|
Belgium has made positive contributions to the success of Vietnam through development cooperation programmes. The two sides have also coordinated closely at multilateral forums, especially at the United Nations and the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and ASEAN-EU partnership.
The political-diplomacy ties between the two sides have developed in a positive, diverse and substantial manner at state, regional and community levels, which has been reflected in many high-level visits.
Particularly, the Belgium visit by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in December 2022 had a significant meaning to bilateral relations. During the visit, the Vietnamese and Belgian PMs agreed to strengthen political trust and deepen cooperation within the framework of the Strategic Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture, while further promoting trade-investment partnership, expanding cooperation to other potential areas to contribute to sustainable development in each country, and working closely to deal with global challenges.
In terms of economic-trade cooperation, Belgium is currently the sixth largest trade partner of Vietnam among EU members. In 2021, Vietnam was the 15th biggest importer of Belgium among non-EU members.
Two-way trade increased from 1.8 billion USD in 2013 to nearly 2.8 billion USD in 2020. In 2021, the figure surged 53.8% year on year to 4.29 billion USD. It hit 4.5 billion USD in 2022 and 2.27 billion USD in the first seven months of 2023.
The cooperation among economic organisations at central, local and sector levels of Vietnam and three Belgian regions of Wallonie, Flanders and Brussels has also been expanded and strengthened.
Belgium showed strong support to the signing and ratification of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and has been one of the first countries to ratify the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).
Regarding investment, Belgian firms had invested over 1.1 billion USD in 90 projects in Vietnam as of July 2023. Meanwhile, as of the end of 2022, Vietnam had four projects worth 12.6 million USD in Belgium.
The partnership between Vietnam and Belgium in the fields of development cooperation dated back to 1977. In July 2018, Belgium stopped providing non-refundable aid to Vietnam but continued to cooperate with Vietnam through soft loans.
The two sides have also enjoyed fruitful cooperation in many other areas, including education and training. Belgium has become one of the five EU members hosting the largest number of Vietnamese students.
The two countries have also cooperated closely in the fields of science-technology, transportation, defence, security, and culture, and expanded their ties to other areas such as climate change response and other non-traditional security matters.
Currently, more than 13,000 Vietnamese people are living in Belgium, acting as the bridge for the Vietnam-Belgium friendship.
President of the Senate of Belgium Stephanie D'Hose is scheduled to pay an official visit to Vietnam from August 21 to 25 at the invitation of Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
The visit, which takes place in the context that Vietnam and Belgium are celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, is expected to contribute to further deepening the partnership between Vietnam and the European country.