The Dutch investors and businesses are ready to support Vietnam if it needs to overcome challenges, said Dutch Crown Prince Williem Alexander.
During their visit to Vietnam from March 28-31, the Crown Prince Alexander and Princess Maxima were accompanied by 80 major businesses including those from Unilever, Friesland Campina, Philips, AkzoNodel and Kenineken as well as Royal Haskoning and Damen Shipyards which are operating in Vietnam. They were all interested in doing business in Vietnam because over the past two decades the country has made considerable progress in poverty reduction and recorded an average growth rate of 7 percent.
According to Prince Alexander, the Netherlands and Vietnam wish to be long-lasting and trusted partners and the importance of their relationship could be seen clearly through the Dutch Royal Family’s visit to Vietnam.
Henk Bleker, Dutch Minister of Agriculture and Foreign Trade who led the Dutch business delegation to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City said he was very proud of bringing a major business delegation credited with the world’s leading know-how about transportation, logistics, water, agriculture, navigation and oil and gas. He expressed his belief that the two countries will boost cooperation based on their similarities.
Government and people join efforts
The Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam, Joop Scheffers, said Vietnam is a typical example for rapid changes. The local people’s living standards have improved significantly in a short time and now with 60 percent of its population under 35 years of age, the country has bright prospects for economic growth.
“During two years of working here, I have been very impressed by Vietnam’s striking developments and its rising position in the international arena. Vietnam is considered as a promising but competitive market for Dutch businesses. The two countries are now focused on boosting cooperation in the areas of transportation, logistics, water, agriculture, navigation and oil and gas”, said ambassador Scheffers.
The Crown Prince Alexander said that the Netherlands and Vietnam face a common challenge caused by climate change and rising sea level.
The Mekong Delta region is receiving assistance from the Dutch water experts. Professor Cees Veerman, former Minister of Agriculture and President of the Dutch Delta Commision, has been appointed a special adviser for the Vietnamese Government in its zoning plan of the Mekong Delta region.
Accompanying Crown Prince Alexander were 50 Dutch leading water experts who want to expand strategic cooperation with Vietnam in water management and coping with climate change.
Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Environment, Joop Atsma, said Vietnam and the Netherlands are 900km far from each other but the two countries have many things in common, for instance, a high population density, long coastline and huge delta areas crisscrossed by big rivers so adaptability to climate change and water management are important issues. The common target is to ensure a bright future for younger generations and maintain natural resources.
In 2010 Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende signed a strategic partnership agreement on long-term cooperation in preventing floods, ensuring safe water for daily use and adapting to climate change, which provides a chance for the two countries to develop urban, infrastructure and transportation.
Virtue of investment in Vietnam
Director of the Nedspice Company, Frans Lavooij, said his company first arrived in Vietnam in 1990 and has ever since operated effectively in the country. “We consider Vietnam a second homeland to contribute to its internationalization,” he said.
More than 750 Dutch businesses are engaged in navigation services. Altis company specialises in supplying software and consultative services for navy, ports and oil and gas industry. “Vietnam offers us plenty of opportunities arising from its rapid growth and other developments similar to the Netherlands. The country also has a long coastline and a dense network of rivers and canals, said Milan Uitentuis, Altis adviser.
The President of Royal Haskoning, Erik Oostwegel, said the group is building ports, workshops and high-rise buildings in the framework of the Netherlands-Vietnam initiative to control climate change. The group has been operating in Vietnam for 20 years.