|Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính held a phone talk with his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo on Wednesday. Photo baochinhphu.vn
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính spoke to his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo on the telephone Wednesday, highlighting how the two countries should strengthen investment and trade to achieve a sustainable post-pandemic recovery and bring the relations to a new level.
The two prime ministers agreed that the traditional and friendly relationship between Việt Nam and Belgium over the past 50 years has developed in a positive, diverse and substantive way with various cooperation frameworks that complement each other and promote the strengths of both sides, including the establishment of a strategic partnership on agriculture in 2018.
The leaders agreed that the two countries have many great opportunities and prospects to enhance the cooperation. They include preparing and organising visits and exchanges between the two countries' senior leaders, strengthening the cooperation in culture and education, human resource development, agriculture, science and technology and climate change, among others.
The two countries should also increase two-way trade and investment, towards a sustainable post-pandemic recovery in order to bring relations to new heights in a more substantive and effective direction.
PM Chính said Belgium is one of the important trade partners and the sixth largest export market of Việt Nam in Europe, with two-way trade turnover in the first seven months of 2021 reaching US$1.9 billion, up more than 40 per cent against the same period in 2020, with many Belgian businesses having invested effectively in Việt Nam.
He emphasised that the two sides' continued effective implementation of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) along with the early ratification of the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) by Belgium will create an important impetus to promote relations between Việt Nam and the EU as well as between Việt Nam and Belgium in both economic and strategic terms.
The PM affirmed that Việt Nam always supports and creates favourable conditions for foreign companies, including Belgian investors to do business and have long-term cooperation in Việt Nam, especially in the fields that Belgium has advantages including shipping, logistics, renewable energy, high-tech agriculture and pharmaceuticals.
PM Chính also asked the Belgian Government to create favourable conditions for agricultural products, especially agricultural products like rice, coffee, cocoa and seasonal fruits of Việt Nam such as lychee, longan, dragon fruit and mango to enter Belgian and EU markets.
He also asked the Belgian Government to push the European Commission (EC) to soon remove the ‘yellow card’ for Vietnamese seafood, meeting the interests of Vietnamese businesses as well as Belgian and EU consumers.
Appreciating Belgium's very active contributions to the COVAX Facility to support countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Chính thanked Belgium for its valuable support to Việt Nam during the pandemic.
He proposed the Belgian Government to push COVAX to accelerate the distribution of vaccines to Việt Nam as soon as possible, and give priority to aid, transfer or loan of vaccines along with cooperation in the transfer of vaccine production technology, support of materials, drugs and medical equipment so that Việt Nam can soon control the pandemic, which is currently developing in a complicated manner in some provinces and cities.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo agreed with PM Chính’s assessment of a global, equal and mutually supportive approach to vaccines and emphasised that vaccination is the key to overcome the pandemic.
He affirmed that he would direct relevant Belgian agencies to actively respond to the request of the Vietnamese side.
Discussing the citizen protection in each country, the two PMs agreed to pay more attention and create more favourable conditions for Vietnamese community in Belgium and Belgian community in Việt Nam.
They highlighted that this is a bridge and an important factor contributing to the promotion of the relations between the two countries.
The Vietnamese PM affirmed that Việt Nam always respects, protects and ensures human rights and citizens' rights, considers people as the centre of as well as the highest goal and the most important driving force of development.
The two Prime Ministers emphasised that the two countries need to continue to strengthen cooperation and support each other at multilateral forums and international organisations, especially at the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Francophone and ASEAN-EU as well as coordinate closely in regional and global issues in the coming time.
Regarding the South China Sea issue, the two leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes based on international law, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.
They also affirmed the significance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as well as building of a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
On this occasion, PM Chính invited his counterpart to visit Việt Nam to continue to discuss more deeply on measures to promote relations between the two countries. Belgian PM Croo happily accepted the invitation and said he hoped to welcome PM Chính in Belgium soon. — VNS