Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh left Hanoi on Friday morning to attend a summit commemorating the 45th year of the ASEAN-EU ties and visit Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium from December 9 to 16.
The PM’s tour is made at the invitations of President of the European Council Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo.
Among Chinh’s entourage are Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan, Deputy Minister of National Defense Hoang Xuan Chien, and deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Duy Ngoc, among others.
The government leader’s tour is of great significance in implementing the Party's foreign policy on continuing to promote external relations, international integration and economic diplomacy.
It also demonstrates Vietnam’s activeness in and responsible contributions to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as the international community.
The visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium are hoped to help intensify and consolidate Vietnam’s relations with the three nations, especially as 2023 marks 50 years since Vietnam set up its diplomatic relations with them, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
The first destination of PM Chinh’s tour is Luxembourg, which is the EU’s third largest investor in Vietnam with a total investment capital of $2.6 billion.
This European nation is one of the EU countries that soon ratified the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).
Luxembourg’s official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam has amounted to 129 million euros ($136.5 million) so far, as Luxembourg considers Vietnam as one of its priority countries in such aid.
The two countries are currently boosting cooperation in ecological agriculture and climate change response.
Meanwhile, Belgium is Vietnam’s sixth largest trading partner in the EU, with two-way trade last year increasing by 53.8 percent compared to 2020 to reach $4.29 billion, according to official figures.
In the first 10 months of this year, the bilateral trade amounted to $4.03 billion, of which the value of Vietnam’s exports to Belgium amounted to $3.4 billion, up 25 percent year on year.
Currently, Belgium has 82 valid investment projects worth $1.1 billion in Vietnam, ranking 23 out of 139 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.
The past years have also seen the relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands developing strongly in various fields, especially in investment, trade, agriculture and response to climate change.
The Netherlands is now Vietnam’s second largest trading partner in Europe and the EU’s largest investor in Vietnam, with two-way trade hitting $8.37 billion last year, up nearly 10 percent year on year, and the figure in the first nine months of 2022 reaching $8.2 billion, up 36 percent from a year earlier.
Currently, the Netherlands has 380 investment projects worth totaling $13.5 billion being developed in Vietnam.
As part of his trip, PM Chinh will attend the ASEAN-EU commemorative summit that will take place next Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, to mark the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations.
Since its establishment of dialogue relations in 1977, the ASEAN-EU ties have developed fruitfully in various fields including politics, security, economics, trade, culture, society and development cooperation.
The two blocs promoted their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2020.
As one of ASEAN’s leading trading partners, EU was ASEAN’s third largest trading partner, after China and the U.S., with two-way trade amounted to $268.9 billion last year,
The EU is also the second largest foreign direct investor of ASEAN, after the U.S., with a total investment capital of $26.5 billion, while ASEAN is the EU’s third largest non-European trading partner, after China and the U.S.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU launched the “Team Europe” package worth 800 million euros ($846.4 million) to support ASEAN in responding to COVID-19 and mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic.
It also offered the ‘Southeast Asia health pandemic response and preparedness’ grant worth 20 million euro ($21.1 million) to support health capacity building and pandemic response coordination in the region.