Press Release

Joint statement Vietnam - Belgium


  1. From 16 to 18 October 2018, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his wife pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Belgium. This visit is part of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Vietnam.
  2. During their meeting, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the continuous and positive development of bilateral relations. They agreed to continue to extend and deepen these relations, both in the area of foreign policy and in the area of socio-economic, commercial, academic and scientific cooperation. The two Prime Ministers also discussed international and regional issues of common interest. On the eve of the 12th ASEM Summit (Brussels, 18-19/10/2018), they reasserted the close collaboration between the two countries in this framework.
  3. The two Prime Ministers reasserted the UN’s central role in promoting international peace and security and sustainable development. They restated their commitment to the UN Charter and agreed to continue their joint efforts for effective multilateralism based on mutual respect, equity and justice. They stressed the importance of their countries, the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their country's international commitments. Vietnam congratulated Belgium on its election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2019-2020. Belgium reaffirmed its support for Vietnam's candidacy for the period 2020-2021. Both countries are committed to strengthening their cooperation in multilateral fora.
  4. The two Prime Ministers stressed the importance of maintaining regular visits and contacts at all levels. They recalled the importance of holding periodic consultations, such as the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation. The two countries will thus actively work to implement the results obtained at the 4th Session of the Joint Commission held in November 2017 in Vietnam and to prepare for the 5th Session to be held in 2019 in Belgium. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a mechanism for bilateral political consultations between the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Belgium. A first session could be held in conjunction with the next session of the Joint Committee.
  5. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the continued and significant development of economic and trade relations between the two countries. They expressed their willingness to strengthen this cooperation and to create a secure, equitable and favourable environment for business in both countries for partnership, investment and trade, particularly in areas where both sides have strengths and potential, such as logistics and maritime transport, environmental technologies and renewable energy.
  6. Both sides underscored again the importance of promoting trade and investment between Vietnam and Belgium within the framework of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and wish to support its signature and ratification as soon as possible. In particular, both sides underline the importance of the chapter on sustainable development, an area where Belgium has acquired quite some expertise in Vietnam.
  7. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his thanks to the Belgian authorities for the assistance and support they have provided to Vietnam through development cooperation over the past 41 years. He appreciated the effective implementation of the Indicative Cooperation Programmes as well as the projects and programmes implemented by ENABEL and FINEXPO and by non-governmental actors. The two Prime Ministers agreed to encourage new models of bilateral cooperation, to expand the same and to diversify the stakeholders involved in this cooperation, in particular by encouraging direct partnership between universities, research centres or regions. In this regard, they welcome the work to establish a new framework for concessional financing of development cooperation.
  8. The two Prime Ministers are aware that agriculture is a diversified sector of cooperation rich in potential, so they expressed their support for the participation of different actors in each country: authorities, universities, research centres, organizations, and individuals, in the development and implementation of a multifaceted partnership. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement in the agricultural sector. In this spirit, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Agricultural Product Quality and Safety, Animal and Plant Health between the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Belgian Food Chain.
  9. The two Prime Ministers welcome the fruitful cooperation in the area of scientific research, inter alia through cooperation between BELSPO and various Vietnamese partners, and academic cooperation. The Belgian side restates its willingness to strengthen Vietnam, in particular by having the federal authorities support the five-year plans of ARES and VLIR, as well as the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. The two Prime Ministers express their interest in the project to create a European Management University in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City. This university will build on the twenty-three years of support for management training at the Solvay Business School of Economics and Management.
  10. The two Prime Ministers reminded everyone of the intensity of bilateral cooperation in culture, education and training, which illustrates the vitality of relations between Vietnam and the competent Belgian authorities.
  11.  Both sides agreed to strengthen their cooperation and consultation in multilateral fora; to support the collective efforts of the international community to promote effective multilateralism, trade liberalization, economic networking and the integration of developing countries into the world economy. Building on their respective roles in ASEAN and the European Union, Vietnam and Belgium, while welcoming the positive progress made in EU-ASEAN relations, will work together to develop the EU's engagement with the region through all ASEAN-led processes.  
  12. Vietnam and Belgium will also work together to strengthen relations between Vietnam and the European Union, particularly in the context of the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
  13. Both sides support ASEAN's efforts to build a strong and prosperous Community where the rule of law prevails. They underline the positive role of ASEAN in the peaceful development of international cooperation, including the preservation of peace, stability, security, safety, security and freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. They reaffirm their support for ASEAN’s and China's efforts to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and to adopt an effective code of conduct (COC) as soon as possible, in accordance with international law.
  14. The two Prime Ministers are convinced that the success of the visit will constitute a new step in the relations of friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc invited the Belgian Prime Minister to visit Vietnam. Prime Minister Charles Michel accepted the invitation.