Belgium-Vietnam trade poised for stronger growth: diplomat
By Quoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
Patrick De Bouck (L), deputy head of mission of the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam, and ambassador Vietnam Hubert Cooreman (second from left) at the press meeting on Tuesday - Photo: Kinh Luan
HCMC – Two-way trade between Vietnam and Belgium has increased 25 folds over the last 15 years to reach a record of US$1.5 billion last year, and the trade ties are poised to grow stronger in the future, said Belgian ambassador to Vietnam Hubert Cooreman.
The diplomat told a press conference on 30 years of cooperation between the two countries on Tuesday at the Sheraton Saigon Hotel in HCMC that “with the increase in bilateral trade in the past years, I’m confident that the two-way trade will develop more in the near future.”
While trade is prospering, Belgian investment in Vietnam is still modest with total registered capital of US$84 million, including US$61 million having been disbursed.
He told the Daily during the tea break that Vietnam was a destination for foreign investors with the economy still expanding despite the global economic crisis, and Belgium enterprises are also interested in the country as an investment destination. He believed that more and more Belgium enterprises would invest in Vietnam to produce more added-value and hi-tech products in the future.
Belgium and Vietnam will continue to boost cooperation in various fields, having seen developments over the past 30 years.
The framework agreement on economic, technical and industrial cooperation signed in 1977 marked the start of cooperation between Belgium and Vietnam, he said.
Today Vietnam is a country in transition heading to become a middle income country in the near future and aspiring to the status of a market economy.
“We commend the Vietnamese government for their efforts on socio-economic development, poverty reduction and international integration,” Hubert Cooreman said, adding “I can assure you that Belgium will continue to support Vietnam on this path.”
He said that in October 2010, Belgium would host in Brussels the 8th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Asia and Europe. A total 47 Asian and European leaders will gather to find ways to improve the two-continent cooperation.
“I hope that during this Summit, we will be able to sign the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Vietnam and the European Union that will add a new dimension to our relationship.”
The Belgiant-Vietnamese Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation will meet next year to define a new framework for our bilateral cooperation, and the ambassador said this would be a decisive moment to transform the two countries’ cooperation into a long lasting broad based partnership.
Patrick De Bouck, deputy head of mission of the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam, said that over the last decade Vietnam had experienced a strong economic growth.
“However, becoming a middle income country will bring along new and more complex policy challenges. Deeper integration in the global economy will compel Vietnam to lay out the foundation of a more sophisticated economy and will call for important structural changes,” he said.
Therefore, it is important that the cooperation not only continues but should also be renewed.