Belgians make mark across raft of sectors

December 07, 2023 | 08:00
(0) user say
Belgian businesses continue to invest in Vietnam across a wide range of sectors to take advantage of its trade deal with the EU and related prospects.
Belgians make mark across raft of sectors
Hydrogen tech and electrical machinery manufacturing are near the top of the list for Belgian groups, source:

Last week, a delegation of over 20 companies and organisations from the Wallonia region of Belgium took part in a business trip to Vietnam to study business opportunities. The visit took in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The companies come from a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals and healthcare, renewable energy, and agriculture.

“The delegation is made up of companies of very different sizes, business sectors and experience in the Vietnamese market. But all the participants are driven by the same common desire to make fruitful contacts during their stay in Vietnam,” said Pascale Delcomminette, CEO of the Wallonia Export and Investment Agency (AWEX).

“Vietnam’s economy is characterised by a dynamic and fast-growing economy and its growing middle-class population. Meanwhile, Wallonia has strengths in the sectors likely life science, biotechnology, logistics and aerospace,” she said.

After a business trip to Vietnam in May, John Cockerill Group, a Belgian mechanical engineering conglomerate, is still working with Vietnamese parties to prepare plans for a hydrogen project in the southern province of Tra Vinh, simultaneously working with the Ministry of Defence to strengthen cooperation in the defence industry.

Speaking at a discussion held at the National Innovation Centre in Hanoi in October, Francois Michel, CEO of John Cockerill Group, said, “Green hydrogen is an advantage of Vietnam thanks to the potential for developing renewable energy. Our company is working with domestic firms to establish the supply chain for the production of hydrogen. We hope that in the next few months, we can announce the specific investment plan in the country.”

On the May visit, a delegation of Belgian businesses conducted surveys and talked to ministries, departments, and local authorities. Agreements were also reached for a factory that will produce activated carbon from coconut shells and other by-products of coconut trees in the southern province of Ben Tre.

The business communities of Belgium and Vietnam desire to strengthen cooperation in various sectors, particularly in hydrogen tech and electrical machinery manufacturing.

Many EU agencies are located in Belgium, which is a European hub for the distribution and transhipment of goods. Belgium is therefore an important partner of Vietnam, and a gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter the European market, and a bridge for Vietnam to strengthen cooperation with Europe.

Belgium is the sixth-largest European trade partner of Vietnam, while Vietnam is its second-largest trade partner from ASEAN.

The two sides are striving to take full advantage of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, with the expectation to bring trade turnover to $7 billion over the next 2-3 years.

To realise such a target, the two parties started to take specific actions. President of the Belgian Senate, Stéphanie D’Hose, said at a meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in August that the Belgian Federal Parliament is actively taking steps to strive to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement before Belgium ends its term as President of the Council of the EU.

In addition, the agencies of the two countries are also proactive in signing agreements, creating a foundation for strict collaboration.

The signing of a letter of intent between the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and AWEX on November 27 marks a milestone for the two countries because of the two agencies’ role in fostering investment and trade activity.

Vietrade, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, performs the function of state management of trade promotion and brands following the law; assumes the prime responsibility and coordinates in implementation of activities of trade promotion, branding, investment promotion, and development of industry and trade.

AWEX has a network of over 100 offices abroad, including one in Vietnam.

Belgium is currently running 88 projects worth $1.1 billion in Vietnam. The most substantial Belgian investment in Vietnam is the development and operation of DEEP C Industrial Zone.

President of Belgian Senate to pay official visit to Vietnam President of Belgian Senate to pay official visit to Vietnam

President of the Senate of Belgium Stephanie D'Hose is scheduled to pay an official visit to Vietnam from August 21 to 25.

Vietnamese, Belgian businesses seek to expand partnership Vietnamese, Belgian businesses seek to expand partnership

A Vietnam-Belgium business meeting was held in Brussels on October 18, aiming to create a chance for direct discussions and connections among enterprises of the two countries.

By Oanh Nguyen

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional