|National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung (right) receives Belgian Senate President Christine Defraigne on her official visit to Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sang
HA NOI (VNS) — The Vietnamese and Belgian legislative bodies will maintain delegation exchanges and share experiences as well as working together to inspect the implementation of agreements reached by the two Governments.
These ideas were agreed during talks between National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and visiting President of the Senate of Belgium Christine Defraigne in Ha Noi yesterday.
Host and guest voiced their wishes that the two sides would further their co-ordination at multilateral forums like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) and the Francophone Parliamentary Alliance (APF), and support each other in issues of mutual concern.
NA Chairman Hung noted with joy that the relations between the two countries and their legislative bodies had grown at all levels over the past years.
According to the top legislator, bilateral trade reached US$2.3 billion in 2014 and $1.1 billion in the first half of this year. Belgium's total investments in Viet Nam neared $500 million.
He expressed his hope that the two sides would continue to effectively implement inked projects and strengthen their cooperation in prioritised spheres such as logistics, high-tech, green growth and vocational training.
For her part, Defraigne praised the countries' partnership in training and health care, saying Viet Nam and Belgium still boast substantial potential for cooperation.
She affirmed the Belgian Federal Parliament's support for the relationship between Viet Nam and the European Union (EU), as evidenced by Belgium's ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Viet Nam and the EU.
Belgium would work to push other EU member countries to soon approve the document, she stated.
Defraigne and her entourage attended the plenary session of the on-going 13th National Assembly.
They were introduced to the year-end meeting's heavy workload, which is expected to see the ratification of 18 draft laws, give feedback on another eight draft laws and a pile of reports, and adopt resolutions on the country's key issues.
The NA Chairman told the guests that the legislature's meetings would focus on the building of laws to institutionalise the Constitution, which was passed in 2013 with new content, including a chapter on human rights.
Christine Defraigne praised Viet Nam's efforts in handling the workload, particularly discussions about the elimination of the death penalty for a number of crimes and the empowerment of prosecuting agencies, courts and lawyers.
She expressed her hope that Viet Nam would have more female legislators in the next tenure.
During his meeting with Defraigne later yesterday, PM Nguyen Tan Dung suggested Viet Nam and Belgium develop new co-operation programmes to efficiently help reach co-operation agreements.
The Vietnamese leader explained that co-operation between the two countries has yet to match their potential and strengths.
He called for deepening the co-operation in a pragmatic and effective manner, particularly in the economy, trade and investment and for mutual benefit and development.
He expressed his belief that the Belgian senate president's visit to Viet Nam would be a milestone and actively contribute to enhancing the ties between the two legislatures and the two countries in general.
The host voiced his thanks for Belgium's ratification of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).
He said the concluded Viet Nam-EU Free Trade Agreement was likely to be signed this December and called on the Belgian side to approve the deal soon there after.
The pact was of significant importance as it would open up opportunities for broader co-operation between Viet Nam and the EU and Belgium in particular, he said.
In reply, Defraigne said she was delighted with big strides in co-operation between the two countries recently, especially in investment and trade.
The guest conveyed her belief that with the solid political and diplomatic ties as the firm background, and with the goodwill and determination of the two countries, bilateral co-operation would thrive in the future.
She called on the Vietnamese Government to support Belgian firms to study, seek investment opportunities and run long-term businesses in the Southeast Asian country.
Belgium was ready to partner with Viet Nam in such realms as education-training, environmental protection, pollution treatment, medicine and pharmacy, she affirmed.
Hailing the dynamic Vietnamese community in Belgium, Defraigne pledged that Belgium would create the best possible conditions for them to study and work in the country. — VNS