Relationship between Vietnam-EU means a new direction after the pandemic?
The invitation of the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco, the President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka, the President of the European Parliament (EP) David Sassoli and the President of the Finnish Parliament Anu Vehvilainen was welcomed by the Vietnam government. Mr Vuong Dinh Hue, Chairman of National Assembly of Vietnam led a high-ranking delegation of the National Assembly to meet the leaders of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland, and the King of Belgium from September 5–11.
This historic event is the first high-level visit for a Vietnamese leader to Europe after the new re-election of members of Parliament. It is an opportunity to celebrate two important dates: 76th anniversary of the National Day of Vietnam and the first anniversary of the EU — Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
The program of the venue will be full and short. After attending the 5th World Conference of Presidents of Parliaments (WCSP5) in Austria, Mr. Hue will do an official visit to the European Parliament (EP), the Kingdom of Belgium and the Republic of Finland from September 8–11.
What is Belgium -Vietnam relation after COVID-19?
The history is far as Belgium and Vietnam officially established diplomatic relations on March 22, 1973. On October 11, 1975, the two countries signed a Framework Agreement on economic, industrial, and technical cooperation. This act has always been the common legal basis for the official cooperation program between the two countries.
After nearly 50 years of establishing diplomatic relations, Belgium is one of the EU members states that maintains a good relationship with Vietnam. It is the14th largest trading partner and it ranks 5th out of 27 EU investors countries. Since 2018, the “heart of Europe” is also a strategic partner in the agricultural sector.
Since the establishment of Diplomat relations, the two countries have exchanged 42 high-level visits. The upcoming European tour of the President of National Assembly of Vietnam, Vuong Dinh Hue is the 20th high-level Vietnamese delegation to visit Belgium.
Before meetings, some high experts in Brussels analyzed on economic potential of this Asian country
The Belgian Federal Senator Andries Gryffroy explained :
‘The visit will not only be an opportunity to celebrate the first anniversary of the EU — Vietnam Free Trade Agreement but also to lay the foundation for new economic cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium as well as European countries, after covid-19 pandemic is under controlled. Over the past time, the cooperation between Vietnam and the EU, including the Kingdom of Belgium, has get encouraging achievements, especially in the economic cooperation. This result is formed on the basis that both Vietnam and Europe encourage the development of small and medium enterprises. According to statistics of the website smeeuro.eu published in July 2021, European countries currently have 22.6 million small and medium-sized enterprises. In Belgium, the updated number by 2019 is nearly 1.2 million. industry with an annual growth rate of 2.7%. These businesses bring 62.4% of profits to the Belgian economy.
Mr Paul JANSEN, Belgium ambassador in Hanoi pointed on important sectors:
Attractive investment fields in Vietnam are industrial zones, food and beverage, processing and manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy. On July 31, 2021, Vietnam officially licensed investments in the wind power project in Binh Thuan (worth 3.1 billion USD) for Belgian enterprises.
Mr. Macr Stordiau, CEO of Belgium International Port Engineering & Investment (IPEI) added
In the field of logistics, many companies operating in the field of construction and operation of seaports such as IPEI does expect to expand investment in Vietnam, including Cai Mep Ha Logistics Center, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. This opens a new freight transport route from Vietnam to Europe in the context that international sea transport continues to face difficulties.
Finland — Vietnam will aim at being a cooperation opportunities in the future?
Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue will initiate an official visit to Finland this Thursday. A promotion action that the Government did since the two countries established diplomatic relations.
In recent years, cooperation between Vietnam and Finland has been growing day by day, in which economy — trade, science-technology, education-training are the top priority fields. Two-way trade turnover increased about 3.5 times in the past 15 years, reaching 337.5 million USD in 2020.
Regarding science-technology, Finland is currently focusing on support research and development activities of the Vietnamese business community. The European country helps Vietnam to train its science-technology human resources, support some municipalities (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang) to construct “smart city” models. Up to education and training, the two countries signed 18 memorandums of understanding, focusing on transferring textbooks and online training programs. By the way, it rises the number of Finnish schools established in Vietnam and the cooperation in University education. Vietnam is also one impressive country to the most educated in Finland with about 2,300 people.
However, the achievements of cooperation between the two countries are still not commensurate with the good traditional relations as well as the potential and strengths of the two sides. Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Finland accounts for only 0.67% of total if it compares to Vietnam and the EU. Finnish investment capital also accounts for only 0.33% of total EU in Vietnam. Many areas of cooperation have not yet been fully exploited by the two countries, such as digital technology, circular economy, marine economy, smart city construction, clean energy development, adaptation to climate change. Climate change, security — defense cooperation…
Asia — Pacific is becoming the most dynamic developing region in the world, in which Vietnam is one of the economy registering fast and sustainable growth. The country is close to China and bustle shipping routes of the world, that offers abundant human resources, a large market of nearly 100 million people, a booming middle class.
Vietnam has many favorable conditions to develop its economy rapidly. After 35 years of implementing the Doi Moi policy, Vietnam has increased its GDP 18 times, its per capita income 22 times; the economic growth rate has always maintained at 6–7%/year. Vietnam’s economy has a very large openness, by 2020, Vietnam has signed 15 free trade agreements (FTAs), including the EVFTA, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)… The country aims at getting a nation with a high average income over the next 15 years.
The recent rapid development of Vietnam and the good relationship and coooperation with European Union promises to be a good direction after pandemic. Especially after the venue of National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.