On the 22nd, he will be holding political consultations with vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bui Thanh Son to discuss the evolution of bilateral relations between Belgium and Vietnam and about the progress made concerning the forthcoming EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. He will also be co-presiding with Mr. Nguyen The Phuong Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment over the 4th Joint Economic Commission on the 24th to discuss the socio-economic evolution of Belgium and Vietnam’s relationship.
Economic ties between the two countries has been steadily deepening over the past years. Today, Belgium is the 6th exporter to Vietnam within the European Union and the 8th importer of Vietnamese commodities. The volume of trade between the two countries hovered around USD 2.45 billion in 2016. An increasing number of Belgian companies are investing in Vietnam. Belgium is proud to support numerous flagship projects. The new EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is presenting new opportunities to further boost the exchanges.
Belgium and Vietnam will be celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations in 2018 and this year the partners will also look back on 40 years of presence of the Belgian Development Cooperation in Vietnam. Mr. Dirk Achten’s visit to Vietnam will be an opportunity to further strengthen the bonds between the two countries in many different areas ranging from trade to cooperation in agriculture.
On November 23rd vice-minister Achten and vice-minister of MARD Le Quoc Doanh will jointly open a seminar dedicated to cooperation in the agriculture sector. This seminar is jointly organised by the Embassy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. On that same day he will also witness the signature of a grant agreement for Belgian funding of the Vietnam-Belgium Friendship association in the framework of the Facility for Capacity Building project. This grant aims to further strengthen the ties between Belgian and Vietnamese businesses but also the relationship between Belgium and its more than 2000 Vietnamese alumni. Many Vietnamese received a scholarship of the Belgian Development Cooperation to study in Belgium. This very important people-to-people relationship will be further exploited thanks to the programme.
To conclude on November 23rd Mr. Achten will also be the guest of honor at the reception on the occasion of King’s Day. During the event he and his Vietnamese counterpart will reveal the logo celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations. This logo was developed after a Belgian graphic designer provided a week-long class to talented Vietnamese students of the Academy of Industrial and Fine Arts. A public Facebook vote followed by a jury assessment of Vietnamese and Belgian professionals selected the winning logo that will mark next year’s festive occasion.