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The Vietnam News

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Belgian businesses eye Vietnam after China

HANOI - Belgium Ambassador to Vietnam Hubert Cooreman says his country has identified Vietnam as a great investment location. The European nation of Belgium has identified Vietnam as one of the world's most attractive investment and trade locations. Ambassador Hubert Cooreman said his government had named China and Vietnam as its most favored investment and trade nations outside Europe.

Inhabitants of Belgium make up just 0.2 per cent of the worlds population but the country accounts for 3.4 per cent of the world's exports and three per cent of the imports. It is a market leader in the export of goods like margarine, chocolates and cut diamonds. Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Belgium, however, is still in favor of Vietnam, which contributes more than 80 per cent of the two countries bilateral trade, said Belgian Economic and Commercial Attache Martin Cardoen. Cardoen said Belgium investors did hold some concerns about Vietnam's infrastructure, which was not as developed as Thailand and Malaysia.

Belgium is one of the Vietnam's leading trade partners in Europe, accounting for nine per cent of Europe-Vietnam bilateral trade. Two-way trade between Vietnam and Belgium amounted to 832 million Euro (US$1.16 billion) in 2006, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year. About 700 million Euro (US$1 billion) of the two-way trade came from Vietnamese exports of shoes, textiles, leather, seafood, furniture and diamonds to Belgium. Bilateral trade between two countries in 2007 was estimated at between US$1.3 billion to US$1.5 billion.

A delegation of investors from Belgium's East Flanders province is due to visit Vietnam in October. The province, 60 kilometers northwest of Brussels, accounts for 86 per cent of Belgian exports to Vietnam and 95 per cent of the European nations imports from Vietnam. East Flanders deputy governor Marc De Buck said the province hoped to deepen its relationship with Vietnam in terms of business, investment and education and science.

Vietnam News Agency - January 22, 2007.