Upturn has been seen in exports of footwear to EU (Photo: VNA)
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium are expected to open up new opportunities for Vietnam to foster partnership with the three European countries, according to experts.
Vietnam set up the diplomatic relations with those countries in 1973.
Data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that trade between Vietnam and Luxembourg rose 60% over a year earlier to more than 181.5 million USD in 2021.
As of October, Vietnam’s exports to the country topped 101 million USD, up 50% year on year, while imports were 50.1 million USD, a rise of 11%. Vietnam mostly exported garment and footwear products to Luxembourg, while importing fibre and chemicals from the country.
Although Luxembourg is a small country with a population of nearly 500,000, it is the financial centre of Europe, which is a good source of soft loans for developing countries, including Vietnam.
Currently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is working to connect the business communities, especially as the two countries are important logistics gateways to the ASEAN and EU.
During the PM’s visit, the ministry will hold a ceremony to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Trade Promotion Agency and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in building the database on the business communities of the two countries, aiming to optimise their strengths in finance, aviation transport, tourism and construction.
According to the MoIT’s European-American Market Department, among the EU members, the Netherlands is one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam, as it is a gateway to the EU and one of the largest logistics centres in the region. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to bring about new cooperation opportunities between the two countries.
In the recent five years, trade between Vietnam and the Netherlands has increased about 6.3% each year.
The Netherlands is the sixth largest export market of Vietnam and biggest among the EU members, with two-way trade exceeding 9.22 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2022, including Vietnam’s exports of over 8.67 billion USD.
The country is running 409 investment projects worth nearly 13.7 billion USD in Vietnam, mostly in agriculture, industry, and food and beverage.
Meanwhile, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Belgium is the sixth largest European trade partner of Vietnam. Before the COVID-19 broke out, two-way trade rose 6-10% each year.
After a fall of 10% in 2020, the growth rate surged to 53.8% in 2021 to 4.29 billion USD, including Vietnam’s imports of 3.6 billion USD. In October 2022, Vietnam exported 3.44 billion USD, up 219.9%.
Experts held that Vietnam and Belgium have supplementary goods structures. Vietnam is Belgium’s supplier of footwear, garment products, coffee and aquatic products. Meanwhile, Belgium has provided Vietnam with pharmaceuticals, gems, machineries and equipment.
Belgium has high demand for agro-fisheries products and traditional handicrafts, which are Vietnam’s strengths.
With the EVFTA serving as foundation, bilateral investment and trade partnership is expected to recover and record new steps forwards, especially that of shared interest such as logistics, agricultural product and food processing, and energy.
Therefore, PM Chinh’s trip to attend a summit commemorating the 45th anniversary of the ASEAN-EU relations and to pay official visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium from December 9 to 16 is expected to result in new partnership opportunities between Vietnam and the three countries./.