Government leaders of Vietnam and Belgium have agreed to forge bilateral cooperation in various fields, especially transport, environment, education and health care to fully tap the two countries’ strength.

The agreement was reached during talks between Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and visiting Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Johan Vande Lanotte in Hanoi on January 20.

At the meeting, Lanotte, who is also Minister of Economy, Consumer Affairs and the North Sea, spoke of the socio-economic and international integration achievements Vietnam has made over the past time.

Belgium hopes to strengthen the friendship and cooperation with Vietnam , he said, adding that his country considers Vietnam a prioritised economic partner in the Asia.

Both host and guest noted with satisfaction the fine development of bilateral ties over the past years, especially the visit to Vietnam of Belgian Prince Philippe in March 2012 and Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to the European country in early 2013.

They agreed to enhance coordination between the two ministries and agencies in the framework of the joint committees in economics, development cooperation and science-technology, while vowing to strengthen cooperation at multilateral forums.

After the talks, the two sides signed a number of agreements, including the Support to the Innovation and Development of Business Incubators Policy Project (BIPP) in Vietnam and a commercial contract to provide Vietnam with Natural Resources Environment and Disaster monitoring small Satellite VNREDSat-1B.

Belgium is currently Vietnam ’s sixth largest trade partner in Europe , with two-way trade in 2013 totalling 1.8 billion USD./.