Vietnam has long sought to strengthen trade ties with Europe. The European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has been a major progress, but it is not enough. As a result, countries are now also working on bilateral agreements, going beyond the EVFTA.
On February 23rd, a working session between the Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium, Nguyen Van Thao, and the Chamber of Commerce of West Flanders - one of the five provinces of Flanders in Belgium – took place. The ambassador called on businesses from West Flanders to increase their investments and research in Vietnam. He further stated that the trade between Vietnam and Belgium has significant room for improvement.
Thao emphasized the importance of trade to foster the sustainable recovery of both countries after the COVID-19 pandemic. He also mentioned Vietnam's successes in combating the pandemic and vaccination campaigns. Vietnam, he said, was ready to welcome international tourists starting on March 15th.
He also pointed to the country's goal of fulfilling commitments at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Vietnam wants to shift to a green and circular economy, which requires foreign investment and expertise. For foreign businesses, it is a chance to enter a new market.
New Opportunities for Both Sides
Lieven Danneels, the Chairman of the Western Flanders Chamber of Commerce, also highlighted the socio-economic development results that Vietnam achieved last year, along with the market's attractiveness for Belgian businesses. He further emphasized that he hopes to strengthen the cooperation in trade and investment relations between Vietnam and the Flanders region in the near future.
The businesses participating in the meeting were also upbeat about more cooperation. Belgian businesses also seemed eager to invest capital in Vietnam, especially in technology, agriculture, and beverage distribution.
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