Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and Belgian Ambassador Paul Jansen (Photo: baochinhphu.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has suggested Belgian Ambassador Paul Jansen contribute to raising trade turnover between Vietnam and Belgium to 3 billion USD in the time ahead.

At a reception for the newly-accredited ambassador in Hanoi on November 23, PM Phuc said the Vietnam-Belgium relationship has developed fruitfully across fields. However, the two-way trade at 2.3 billion USD in the first ten months of this year has yet to match potential and strength of each side.

Recalling his official visit to Belgium last October, the PM said outcomes of the visit will create a firm foundation for strengthening the bilateral relations.

He expressed his hope to welcome the Belgian Prime Minister in Vietnam as soon as possible.

He told Ambassador Jansen that Vietnam has actively prepared for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and called on Belgium to back the signing and ratification of the deal.

PM Phuc said he believes that with his diplomatic experience, the ambassador will make contributions to the relations between Vietnam and Belgium during his tenure in the Southeast Asian nation.

For his part, Ambassador Jansen described PM Phuc’s visit to Belgium as a milestone in the bilateral ties, especially in the context of the two countries reaching an agreement on the establishment of a strategic partnership in agriculture, helping promote a quality and high-tech agricultural sector in Vietnam and boost Vietnam’s exports to Belgium.

Belgian firms want to expand investment and seek new opportunities in Vietnam, he said, suggesting the Vietnamese Government exempt visa for Belgian citizens in order to bolster tourism cooperation and cultural exchange between the two countries.

The diplomat also voiced his wish that Vietnam and Belgium will provide mutual support and coordinate with each other in such areas as peacekeeping and climate change combat.

Belgium always supports Vietnam’s participation in the EVFTA, saying this would help Vietnam derive substantial strategic and economic benefits brought about by the deal.-VNA