Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Pham Gia Khiem has called for concerted efforts to maintain
Belgium’s status as Vietnam’s fourth largest European importer.
He said during talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme in
Hanoi on August 11 that concrete measures should be taken to boost
investment amid the global economic recession.
Khiem also pushed for the deployment of a cooperation programme for the
2007-10 period, for which Belgium has committed to an aid package worth
37.5 million Euros to Vietnam through projects in healthcare, tourism,
education and training, natural resources and environment and poverty
In return, Leterme assured his host of Belgium’s continued assistance
to Vietnam in its renewal process as well as in boosting relations with
other European Union members.
The Belgian Government will strengthen economic ties with Vietnam,
further encouraging Belgian businesses to promote trade and investment
in the Southeast Asian market, emphasised the Belgian minister.
Host and guest reached consensus on mutual assistance at regional and
international forums, with focus to be laid on preparations for the
eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit. The event is scheduled to
take place in Belgium in 2010 when Vietnam will hold the presidency of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Belgium the presidency
of the EU simultaneously during the last six months of the year.
Vietnam and Belgium have enjoyed satisfactory development of bilateral
relations in the recent past, which was marked with regular exchanges
of senior delegations. They included Belgium visits by Prime Minister
Nguyen Tan Dung in September 2006 and his deputy cum Foreign Minister
Pham Gia Khiem in September 2008. In June 2008 the then Belgian Foreign
Minister Karel De Gucht visited Vietnam./.