Flemish chips a hit in Vietnam

Summary

An economic mission to Vietnam has an easy sell when it comes to Flanders’ frozen foods, but it hopes to improve its standing in the fruit market

50 companies on a mission

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois has joined Flanders Investment & Trade in an economic mission to Vietnam. Representatives from about 50 Flemish businesses have also made the trip, which kicked off at the weekend and lasts until Friday.

Last year, Vietnam’s economy grew by more than 6.5%. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, it will be the 20th biggest economy in the world by 2050.

The Flemish delegation is visiting the capital Hanoi as well as Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh. They are looking in particular at the food export market, with a focus on pork and frozen products. About one-third of the delegation represents the food sector.

Currently, 40% of Vietnam’s frozen chips come from Belgium, some 3,000 tons a year, worth more than €2 million. Fresh produce has been a harder sell, but Flanders broke into the country’s market a couple of years ago with pears, and sales are steadily increasing.

Mekong flood control

Also part of the delegation are representatives from the maritime sector and academic institutions as well as urban development. Today, Bourgeois is in Hoi Chi Minh City, where Flanders is co-operating on a seminar on flood control and water transport.

“This issues are a real challenge for the entire Mekong region,” said Bourgeois, referring to the river that runs through multiple countries, including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. “This is an area where we can offer Flemish expertise, both from the government’s mobility department as well as from some of our companies on this visit.”