The ambassador noted that although Belgium is a small country with a population of only more than 10 million, the European country is a partner with great cooperation potential for Vietnam. As the center of Europe, Belgium has acted as a gateway for Vietnam to the European Union (E.U.).

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Nguyen Van Thao

According to him, Vietnam and Belgium are both members of the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF), and share many similarities in culture, which are favorable conditions for them to bolster their friendship. He added that the two countries have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations.

Agriculture is one of the successful cooperation areas between the two countries, said the diplomat, noting that the two sides set up their strategic partnership in agriculture from 2018. Belgium is one of the two strongest countries in Europe in agriculture, making it a great partner for Vietnam to build and develop an agricultural economy, he said.

In terms of economy, after the E.U. - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, two-way trade surged 60% in 2022 to over 6 billion EUR (6.46 billion USD) from 3.9 billion EUR in 2021.

Located in the center of Europe, Belgium is a hub for high technologies, including those for semi-conductor chip production. In the recent visit to the Belgium, the Prime Minister, Vietnam and Belgium signed a cooperation agreement on semi-conductor chip research and production in Vietnam, which is expected to become a bright spot in bilateral partnership, he said.

The diplomat also thought that green, digital and circular economy is also a promising area for bilateral cooperation.

At the same time, culture cooperation has also drawn great attention from both countries, helping connect localities of the two countries. Namur city of Belgium and Hue city of Vietnam have set up twin relations and regularly conducted exchanges in culture, art and heritage conservation, he said.

In April, the Mayor of Namur will lead an art delegation to the Hue Festival, while a Vietnam Day will be held in Belgium to introduce the Vietnamese cultural identity to Belgian friends, said the ambassador, holding that promoting cultural exchange will help people of the two countries deepen their mutual understanding, paving the way for the development of ties in other fields.

The diplomat also pointed to other promising areas in bilateral cooperation, including education and training.

In addition, Vietnam and Belgium have maintained close coordination and cooperation within multilateral organizations. Both countries have been elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council in the 2023-2024 tenure, he noted, expressing belief that cooperation between the two sides within the council will contribute to the development of human rights in the world as well as the growth of bilateral ties.

Ambassador Thao said that this year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations, about 50 activities will be held in Vietnam in many forms, including a number of high-level visits and those to boost cultural, trade, investment and tourism collaboration. The visit of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Belgium last December was a great start of the series of events.

Regarding measures to further bolster the Vietnam - Belgium relations, Ambassador Thao said that proper preparations and appropriate investment are needed to optimize  cooperation potential with Belgium in all fields, especially agriculture and high technology, ensuring benefits for all parties.

Source: VNA