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Belgium is proud to have contributed significantly to the development of Vietnam from 1977 with the ODA source amounting to € 20-25 million a year. The bilateral development cooperation program between Belgium and Vietnam officially ended at the end of June 2019, but Belgium continues to support Vietnam through academic cooperation, NGOs, the private sector – with the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). Vietnam remains the recipient of the Belgian concessional ODA financing managed by Finexpo. The French-speaking Community of Belgium (WBI) also has its own cooperation program with Vietnam on specific areas such as medicine, education and civil engineering.
Over the last four decades an important number of Vietnamese students have been able to benefit from the excellent Belgian education system via different scholarship schemes. So far about 4,000 Vietnamese students have studied in Belgium. The Solvay Business School has a MBA and a Master Program in Vietnam since 1995 counting about 2.500 alumni. The Port of Antwerp provides training seminars for Vietnamese professionals in port management.
Since 2018, Belgium has been Vietnam’s strategic partner in the agricultural sector.
Belgium is the 6th European trade partner of Vietnam. The trade volume between both countries hovers now around € 3 billion a year. This volume increases every year, a sign of growing economic complementarity. Goods that are traded are mainly chemicals, machines, iron, textile and shoes, and agricultural products. Belgian companies work on river and port projects and are also active in the area of food (aquaculture, coffee, cocoa), the management of water and waste, and innovative technologies.
Belgium’s Flanders and Walloon Regions have maintained close relations with Vietnam in infrastructure, logistics, seaports, culture, education, science and technology, healthcare, and construction.
The bilateral economic relations between Belgium and Vietnam have increased considerably over the past decennia. This is – amongst others – the result of Vietnam’s strong economic performance over the last decades, but also of the growing international expansion of Belgian companies.
Belgium is the 6th European trade partner of Vietnam: the volume of trade between both countries hovered around € 3 billion in 2020. The trade volume has been steadily increasing over the past years. With its ports and geographical centrality, its state-of-the-art transport infrastructure Belgium has become the entry gate of Vietnamese products to Europe.
As end of 2020, Belgium has 78 investment projects in Vietnam, with a total registered capital of US$1.1 billion, ranking 23rd among 131 countries investing in Vietnam.
Belgian companies in Vietnam are discovering more and more opportunities in sectors such as waste management, water sanitation, and medical equipment and applications. Belgian companies hereby support Vietnam’s further development through an exchange of knowledge and skills. The Belgian Government supports these initiatives with concessional ODA and other forms of financing.
Bilateral trade relations
In 2020 with a foreign trade volume of about €43.2 billion, the EU is currently among Vietnam’s largest trading partners. Vietnam is the EU’s 15th-largest trade partner and within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the EU’s second-largest trading partner. Combined, ASEAN is the EU’s third-largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China). In 2020 EU exports to Viet Nam valued €8.788 billion and EU imports from Viet Nam: €34,420 billion.
Currently, Belgium is Vietnam’s 6th largest export market in Europe.
In 2020, the total trade balance between Belgium and Vietnam stood at €1.9 billion in favor of Vietnam. Belgium’s export to Vietnam reached €633.6 million with major sections: chemicals (45.6%), machinery & equipment (13.2%) and precious metals & stones (9.8%) and Belgium’s imports from Vietnam reached €2,183.5 million with major sections: footwear & headgear etc (47.2%), textiles (16.5%), and base metals (5.9%).
Since the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) took effect in August 2020, Belgium has played a significant role in promoting trade and foreign investments into Vietnam.