Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Belgian businesses are expanding investment activities in Vietnam to grab opportunities when free trade agreements (FTAs) the country has signed come into effect.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as of 2015, Belgium ran 59 valid investment projects in Vietnam in 2015 with total registered capital of 421.66 million USD, ranking 27th among 105 nations and territories investing in Vietnam.

Last year, the European country counted four newly-licensed investment projects and two registering to increase capital.

Belgian Ambassador to Vietnam Jehanne Roccas said the number of projects invested by Belgian businesses is quite modest compared to other foreign investors in Vietnam. However, with Belgium, this is a considerable figure as the country typically only runs about 2-3 investment projects in a host country.

She said Vietnam constitutes the brightest spot in Asia, adding that with FTAs, the country’s export potential will increase in the future.

Vietnam is also expected to become a manufacturing hub in the world, so Belgian enterprises will consider increasing their presence and activities in the Southeast Asian country, she said.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment said Belgian firms are investing in various fields in Vietnam, especially construction, processing and manufacturing.

As a transportation center in Europe, Belgium is keen to share experience and make investment in the field of logistics in Vietnam.

It has also partnered with Vietnam to carry out a number of projects in water and health care over the past few years.

Since the two countries signed an agreement on investment encouragement and protection in 1991, Belgian firms have invested in 17 out of the 63 cities and provinces across Vietnam.

Its two projects worth 278.4 million USD in Hai Phong have helped the northern port city become one of the leading localities nationwide in FDI attraction.

Bac Ninh province comes second with a Belgium-invested project worth 42 million USD, followed by Ho Chi Minh City – which attracted the biggest number of projects from the European country, but only in small-scale (each worth approximately 0.4 million USD).

In the industrialisation and modernisation process, Vietnam has big demand for developing transportation, electricity, and mechanics, which are the strengths of Belgium.

Vincent Decuyper, a member from Belgium’s Solvay corporation – which is active in the field of chemicals and materials, said the group defines Vietnam as a good market to expand operations in the Asian region.

He added that foreign chemical companies have been shifting their investment to Vietnam, so his corporation is following that trend.

To prepare for long-term operation in Vietnam, the Belgian firm recently held the “Solvay Vietnam Days” to explore opportunities in the market, especially in the fields of oil and gas, fertilizer, chemicals and milk.-VNA