Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s upcoming official visit to Belgium takes place in the context of constant development of the relationship between Vietnam and the country in various realms and at different levels.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (March 22, 1973).
Belgium is Vietnam’s seventh biggest importer in the European Union (EU), after Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, France, Spain and Austria. Though being only a small country, Belgium has served as an important gateway for Vietnam’s commodities to access other Western European nations.
In 2017, Belgium had 62 investment projects with total capital of US$595 million in Vietnam. Most projects are of small scale.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has invested in two projects in Brussels, including a US$152,000 trade promotion centre in Brussels and the Europe trade and investment joint stock company worth US$90,000.
Since the two countries signed the Framework Agreement on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation in 1977, Belgium has offered nearly US$300 million in loans and non-refundable aid to Vietnam, with about 60 percent non-refundable aid.
Their cooperation programmes have mainly targeted water resource management, waste treatment, State management, institutional enhancement and administrative reform, education, agriculture and rural development, and health care.
Belgium ended its non-refundable aid to Vietnam in July 2018.
The Vietnam-Belgium Joint Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation meets every three years to review and set directions for cooperation programmes and projects between the two countries.
The two sides are teaming up in 18 research projects with a total funding of US$8 million in the form of cooperation between universities and research institutes, expert exchange and implementation of joint research programmes.
Each year, Belgium provides about 2 million EUR for Vietnam’s education-training sector through cooperation programmes between universities and research institutes. Nearly 300 Vietnamese students are studying and doing research in the country.
Besides, many joint projects on languages, scientific research capacity improvement and personnel training have also been launched at local level.
PM Phuc’s Belgium visit is made at the invitation of his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel. It is part of his trip to Europe from October 14-21 to attend the 12th ASEM Summit (ASEM 12) and the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 Summit (P4G) and pay officials visits to Austria, Belgium, Demark and a working visit to the European Union (EU).