HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese and Belgian partners held their second joint economic commission meeting in Ha Noi.
During the two-day meeting, they reviewed ongoing investment and concessional loan projects relating to high and green technology, port development and dredging and the agro-food sector.
Participants discussed concessional credit funding and Belgium's export insurance policy on Viet Nam. They also worked on an indicative list of economic projects for the future.
Also, the Belgian side presented new projects in Viet Nam in different sectors including transport, logistics, infrastructure and health.
Alongside the meeting, the two sides signed MoUs and contracts for environmental work and health care, including providing 30-50 pumping stations to irrigate rice fields in southern Bac Lieu Province and providing radio-pharmaceutical products and equipment for the Ha Noi-based Hospital 108 and the Nghe An-based Oncology Hospital.
"This Viet Nam-Belgium Joint Economic Commission (JEC) is a success because of the strong and sound friendship and partnership Belgium and its regions have developed with Viet Nam," said Belgian deputy minister of foreign affairs Dirk Achten.
He stressed that the two countries had evolved from relations focused on development co-operation to an economic partnership.
"The results of the JEC are positive and concrete," Achten said. "This mutual co-operation shows our motivation to move forward."
Belgium is the seventh trade partner of Viet Nam within the EU, according to the Belgian deputy minister. The total volume of trade between the two countries amounts to 1.2 billion euros (US$1.6 billion).
Since 2010, concessional financing in committed or considered projects reached an overall contract volume of over 200 million euros ($270.1 million).
Belgium ranks 35th in Viet Nam in terms of foreign direct investment with $136.9 million invested in 40 projects.
At the event, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said that the JEC meeting would contribute to the development of trade and investment co-operation, particularly this year as the two countries celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Phuong asked the Belgian side to continue its support to Viet Nam and pledged to closely co-operate with Belgian partners to realise the proposals put forward during the meeting.
The first JEC meeting was held in Ha Noi in 2011 following the initiative of the two prime ministers in order to accelerate their bilateral relationship. — VNS