At the invitation of President of the European Council Charles Michel, Prime Minister f Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo, Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh led a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam to attend a summit commemorating the 45th anniversary of the ASEAN-EU relations and pay official visits to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium from December 9 to 15. His trip contributes to further deepening the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership and elevating Vietnam's relations with EU member countries.
This is the first time ASEAN and the EU holds a summit to commemorate the 45th anniversary of their relations. The ASEAN-EU relationship was established in 1977 and upgraded to Strategic Partnership in 2020. After 45 years, the two sides' relations have progressed and covered many fields.
The EU affirmed its support for ASEAN's central role and wishes to deepen cooperation with ASEAN. The EU is the third largest trading partner and the second largest direct investor of ASEAN with total FDI reaching 26.5 billion USD in 2021.
Meanwhile, ASEAN is the EU's third largest partner outside of Europe. The two sides’ total trade turnover reached 268.92 billion USD in 2021. They have also shared support each other for multilateralism, trade liberalisation, economic integration and peaceful settlement of disputes.
We are pleased to see that the Vietnam-EU relationship has developed extensively in recent years. Vietnam is the first ASEAN country signing cooperation frameworks politics, economy, defence and security with the EU.
The EU is the third largest export market, the fifth largest import market and the sixth largest foreign investor of Vietnam. In terms of development aid, EU is one of Vietnam's largest non-refundable aid donors.
After more than two years of implementing the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the two-way trade turnover reached more than 52 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2022, bringing Vietnam into the 14th largest trading partner of the EU. The two sides are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Vietnam – EU comprehensive partnership and cooperation (2012-2022).
In addition to playing a role as a bridge connecting ASEAN and EU, Vietnam has good relations with Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2023, Vietnam will join the three EU member countries to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
Over the past half-century, the relationship between Vietnam and the three countries has developed well and deepened through maintaining high-level delegation exchanges and meetings as well as coordination and mutual support at the international forums. Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium are all among Vietnam's leading economic-investment partners.
In terms of investment and development, Luxembourg is the EU's third largest investor in Vietnam with a total investment capital of 2.6 billion USD and also one of the EU countries that soon ratified the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). Luxembourg considers Vietnam one of the priority countries in development assistance with total aid of 129 million EUR so far. The two sides are exchanging and promoting cooperation in the fields of ecological agriculture and climate change response.
The relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands are developing strongly in many fields, especially in investment, trade, agriculture and climate change adaptation. The Netherlands is Vietnam's second largest trading partner in Europe and the EU's largest investor in Vietnam. Their bilateral trade reached 8.2 billion USD in the first nine months of 2022. Regarding investment, the Netherlands has 380 projects in Vietnam with a total capital of 13.5 billion USD.
Cooperation in trade, investment and agriculture is a bright spot in Vietnam - Belgium relations. Belgium is Vietnam's sixth largest export market in Europe with two-way trade turnover continuing to maintain its growth momentum, reaching 4.3 billion USD in 2021. Belgium has 82 investment projects in Vietnam with registered capital of 1.1 billion USD. In terms of development cooperation, Belgium has spent 300 million USD in development aid for Vietnam.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s Europe trip is of great significance, contributing to the implementation of the foreign policy of the 13th National Party Congress on promoting and improving the efficiency of foreign affairs and international integration.
The visit also contributed to strengthening the relationship between Vietnam and the three EU member states, helping Vietnam expand cooperation in the fields of strengths of each country such as pharmaceutical technology and logistics with Luxembourg, circular economy and renewable energy with the Netherlands, and marine economy and ecological agriculture with Belgium.
May the business trip of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh be a great success.