Paul Jansen (right), Belgian ambassador to Việt Nam, and Gricha Safarian, the honorary consul of Belgium in HCM City, at the opening of their country’s consulate in HCM City on Wednesday. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY — The Belgian consulate for the south has opened in HCM City with Gricha Safarian, general manager of Puratos Grand-Place, serving as the honorary consul.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony on October 28, Belgian ambassador to Việt Nam, Paul Jansen, said the new honorary consul, with his experience and understanding of doing business for many years in Việt Nam, would further help deepen the ties between Việt Nam and Belgium.
Investment and trade ties between the two countries have increased significantly in the past decade, and Belgium is the seventh largest European trading partner for Việt Nam and has become the gateway for Vietnamese products to enter the EU.
Safarian pledged to make unrelenting efforts to promote Belgium-Việt Nam relations in all areas.
“I am from Belgium, the country of chocolate, and this is also the signature of my function - honorary consul and chocolate manufacturer.
“In my business, I build a bridge between pure chocolate production Belgian experts and the raw materials sources that we found in Việt Nam: Vietnamese cocoa seeds and sugar. My very desire is to make Việt Nam one of the leading chocolate manufacturers.
“Now we are on the right track as chocolate made in Vietnam has gained recognition in major markets such as Japan, the US, Belgium, and France.
“We are working on this, because this is a sustainable business closely related to afforestation, forest protection and providing sustainable benefits to Vietnamese cocoa farmers.
“The honorary consul position gives me a chance to reach out to officials in the Vietnamese Government, which is very interesting for me. We can discuss higher goals, such as how to help businesses and the country develop the industry in a better, more sustainable manner.” — VNS