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Prime Minister starts official visit to Luxembourg

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh landed at Findel Airport this morning (local time), starting his official visit to Luxembourg at the invitation of Luxembourger Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh arrives at Findel Airport, Luxembourg, December 9, 2022.

PM Chinh and the delegation were welcomed at the airport by Luxembourg Ambassador to Vietnam Patrich Hammer, Chief of Protocol of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Olivier Baldauff, and Vietnamese Ambassador to Luxembourg Nguyen Van Thao, among others.

During the trip, PM Chinh is scheduled to have talks with his counterpart Bettel, meet with the speaker of the parliament and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, visit some economic establishments, attend a business forum between the two countries, and meet with representatives of the Vietnamese community in the European country.

The official visit takes place at a time when the bilateral relations are flourishing, especially in investment and development.

Having invested 2.6 billion USD in Vietnam, Luxembourg is the third largest EU investor in the Southeast Asian nation and also one of the EU countries that have ratified the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) early. It views Vietnam as one of the priority partners in development assistance, with total aid reaching 129 million EUR (136.4 million USD).

PM Chinh's trip is expected to further intensify the friendship and cooperation with Luxembourg and expand cooperation in the fields where each country has strengths and Vietnam has demand such as pharmaceutical technology and logistics.

Prime Minister leaves for official visits to three European countries

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh left Ha Noi on early Friday morning for official visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium from December 9-15.

The trip is made at the invitation of President of the European Council Charles Michel, PM of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, PM of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and PM of Belgium Alexander De Croo.

The Vietnamese Government leader’s trip is of great significance as it is a move to carry out the foreign policy outlined by the 13th National Party Congress and directives of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on continuing to promote external relations, international integration and economic diplomacy.

It also shows Vietnam’s proactivity in making responsible contributions to ASEAN and the international community in the context of the region and the world facing complicated developments and unforeseeable challenges.

This is the first time ASEAN and the EU have held a summit to celebrate 45 years of bilateral relations, featuring the participation of leaders of their member countries, since the establishment of the dialogue relations in 1977, and the strategic partnership in 2020.

The Vietnam-EU relationship has seen extensive development over the past years. Vietnam is the first ASEAN member state to have all frameworks for cooperation in politics, economics, defence and security with the union.

The EU is the third largest export market, the fifth largest import market and the sixth biggest investor to Vietnam. In terms of development aid, the union is one of Vietnam's largest non-refundable aid donors.

Over the past five decades, Vietnam’s relations with the three above-mentioned European nations have grown steadily, through the maintenance of delegation exchanges and contacts, and the coordination and mutual support at international forums.

Luxembourg is the third largest EU investor in Vietnam with a total capital of US$2.6 billion, and one of the first countries to adopt the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Luxembourg regards Vietnam as one of the priority countries in development assistance with total aid reaching EUR129 million (US$135.6 million) so far. Both sides are currently discussing and promoting cooperation possibility in the fields of ecological agriculture and climate change response.

The Netherlands is Vietnam's second largest trade partner in Europe and the EU's biggest investor in the Southeast Asian nation. Bilateral trade reached US$8.37 billion in 2021, up nearly 10% year-on-year, and US$8.2 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 36%. The country is running 380 projects in Vietnam totally capitalized at US$13.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Belgium is Vietnam's sixth largest export market in Europe with two-way trade hitting US$4.3 billion in 2021, up 54%-on year.

The Government chief’s visit will help reinforce the relations between Vietnam and Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium as Vietnam will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with the countries next year.

PM’s visits to open new cooperation chances with European countries

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium are expected to open up new opportunities for Vietnam to foster partnership with the three European countries, according to experts.

Vietnam set up the diplomatic relations with those countries in 1973.

Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that trade between Vietnam and Luxembourg rose 60% over a year earlier to more than 181.5 million USD in 2021.

As of October, Vietnam’s exports to the country topped 101 million USD, up 50% year on year, while imports were 50.1 million USD, a rise of 11%. Vietnam mostly exported garment and footwear products to Luxembourg, while importing fibre and chemicals from the country.

Although Luxembourg is a small country with a population of nearly 500,000, it is the financial centre of Europe, which is a good source of soft loans for developing countries, including Vietnam.

Currently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is working to connect the business communities, especially as the two countries are important logistics gateways to the ASEAN and EU.

During the PM’s visit, the ministry will hold a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Trade Promotion Agency and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in building the database on the business communities of the two countries, aiming to optimise their strengths in finance, aviation transport, tourism and construction.

According to the MoIT’s European-American Market Department, among the EU members, the Netherlands is one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam, as it is a gateway to the EU and one of the largest logistics centres in the region. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to bring about new cooperation opportunities between the two countries.

In the recent five years, trade between Vietnam and the Netherlands has increased about 6.3% each year.

The Netherlands is the sixth largest export market of Vietnam and biggest among the EU members, with two-way trade exceeding 9.22 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2022, including Vietnam’s exports of over 8.67 billion USD.

The country is running 409 investment projects worth nearly 13.7 billion USD in Vietnam, mostly in agriculture, industry, and food and beverage.

Meanwhile, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Belgium is the sixth largest European trade partner of Vietnam. Before the COVID-19 broke out, two-way trade rose 6-10% each year.

After a fall of 10% in 2020, the growth rate surged to 53.8% in 2021 to 4.29 billion USD, including Vietnam’s imports of 3.6 billion USD. In October 2022, Vietnam exported 3.44 billion USD, up 219.9%.

Experts held that Vietnam and Belgium have supplementary goods structures. Vietnam is Belgium’s supplier of footwear, garment products, coffee and aquatic products. Meanwhile, Belgium has provided Vietnam with pharmaceuticals, gems, machineries and equipment.

Belgium has high demand for agro-fisheries products and traditional handicrafts, which are Vietnam’s strengths.

With the EVFTA serving as foundation, bilateral investment and trade partnership is expected to recover and record new steps forwards, especially that of shared interest such as logistics, agricultural product and food processing, and energy.

Therefore, PM Chinh’s trip to attend a summit commemorating the 45th anniversary of the ASEAN-EU relations and to pay official visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium from December 9 to 16 is expected to result in new partnership opportunities between Vietnam and the three countries.

Source: VietNamNet/VGP/VOV/VNA

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