Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with Belgium's former Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere (Photo: VNA)

Brussels (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had a meeting on October 18 with Steven Vanackere, former Belgian Foreign Minister and head of a group of parliamentarians from the Flemish Christian Democratic Party, who has made great contributions to the growth of the Vietnam-Belgium relationship.

PM Phuc, who is on an official visit to Belgium, told Vanackere that Vietnam and Belgium have agreed on a number of measures to strengthen their cooperation in the future, including the hastening of the signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU.

Noting that the former Belgian minister has rich experience in the field, the PM expressed his hope to receive support and cooperation from Vanackere.

For his part, Vanackere affirmed that he is willing to assist Vietnam, adding that as a country with certain influences in the EU, Belgium has a strong voice regarding the signing of the deal.

The former official asserted that Vietnam and Belgium boast great potential to further promote their partnership. He said Belgian enterprises are strong in seaports and logistics, which makes them suitable partners to Vietnam.

At the same time, Vietnam has recorded various progresses in sustainable growth, while Belgium has many large firms in science and technology, and as such the two sides should supplement each other in this field.

Belgium hopes to receive more Vietnamese students, he added.

Vanackere held that the European Council (EC)’s approval of the free trade agreement with Vietnam shows the union’s goodwill and aspiration to promote the deal, underscoring that the two sides should maintain a regular exchange of information. Vietnam should provide further information on its achievements and efforts in socio-economic development, with its open and reforming government, he said.

PM Phuc agreed with Vanackere on the substantial cooperation potential between the two sides, including in Vietnam’s strengths of processing industry and agriculture.

The Government leader declared that Vietnam is ready to import some of Belgian’s strongest products.

Vietnam currently has 250 postgraduates studying in Belgium, he noted, holding that the figure will continue to rise, contributing to enhancing the human resource quality of Vietnam.

He told the former Belgian FM that during his visit, businesses of the two countries have signed many investment cooperation deals, while heads of major regions and enterprises of Belgium also showed their hope to foster affiliation with Vietnam on a win-win basis.

Stating that the EC’s approval of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement is good news and will benefit both sides, he stressed Vietnam’s standpoint of actively integrating into the world and exerting more efforts in the field.–VNA