25 years of Wallonia-Brussels cooperation with Vietnam

The Wallonia-Brussels General Delegation was set up in Vietnam in 1996. Six years later, bilateral ties continued growing well with the signing of an important agreement between the Vietnamese Government and the French Community of Belgium, the Wallonia region, and the French Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region (COCOF).

More than 30 high-ranking official visits have been made, helping to enhance their partnership, mutual trust, and experience sharing toward sustainable development, Dervaux noted.

So far, 783 joint projects approved by the Vietnam – Wallonia-Brussels General Delegation Joint Committee have gained encouraging results. The two sides have given special attention to cooperation in health care, environment, new technology, tertiary education, vocational training, scientific research, culture, and the French language.

Cooperation orientations for 2022 – 2024 will be identified basing on the Vietnamese Government’s priorities in the socio-economic development plan for 2021 – 2025 as well as the strengths of Wallonia-Brussels, Dervaux noted, adding that the level of traditional cooperation will be elevated and new cooperation fields created.

The two sides will focus their ties on social issues, health care, human resources development, culture, scientific research, industrial development, agriculture, and logistics, among others. Reed more here: https://en.nhandan.vn/politics/item/10525902-wallonia-brussels-to-keep-enhancing-ties-with-vietnam-representative.html

BeluxCham Vietnam signed a MOU with BLCC Collective in Asia

BeluxCham Vietnam entered a new partnership with Belgium – Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (BLCC) Collective in Asia through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

 

On the 1st of November 2021, Mr. Bart Verheyen – Chairman of BeluxCham Vietnam signed an MoU between BLCC in Asia including the BLCC of Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and The Belgian Vietnamese Alliance, The Benelux Chamber of Commerce in China (Shanghai Chapter), The Belgian-Filipino Business Club, The Belgian Korean Business Forum, The European Chambers of Cambodia, Myanmar, The Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and The Indo-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

 

The purpose of this MOU is to increase services offered to all Chambers’ members and enhance cooperation between all Chambers. The MOU is also towards the common goal of supporting Belgians/Luxembourg enterprises who have interest in developing business activities in the Asia market.

 

Furthermore, As part of this new partnership, the BLCC Collective in Asia will be collaborating closely on a series of activities in the coming months for the interest of Belgians/Luxembourg enterprises. These activities will be published on our website and social media. Stay tuned!

Geuther Vietnam – how did we manage the Covid-19 lockdown

Geuther is a privately invested Belgian Company that started operations in early 2020, just before the Covid-19. Geuther designs, develops, and manufactures wooden and steel baby furniture for large brands in over 35 countries. Around 250 passionate wood experts produce everything from highchairs, stair gates, playpens, cribs, changing tables, …

Starting operations just before the pandemic was already a challenge but surviving without a single positive case during the complete lockdown was almost a miracle. How did we achieve this and what are the key learnings?

1. Navigate through the lack of information available from Authorities

We observed in May-June what was happening in the North and heard from AkzoNobel Commercial Director Maximilen Schréder that Authorities had asked them to stay inside the factory to avoid any virus spread. After exchanging with other factory owners, we decided to

  • increase our stock level of raw material and semi-finished products to have enough when suppliers would have to close
  • build showers, add toilets, buy tents and prepare the logistics to feed our staff
  • prepare all staff mentally for such a move

We locked 200 staff inside the factory starting 5. July at a time when Authorities In Binh Duong were not able to approve such a move. This was 2 weeks before the Authorities made such a move compulsory

2.  Team spirit and the role of managers

The first week was fun, everyone was positive. Some started building a table tennis table with spare material, others built a body-building station or for the less health-conscious a smoking relaxing area, some played badminton, went jogging around the factory, … As time passed, first workers started to complain about the food, about the temperature, … and some wanted to go home as well, especially when hearing from other factories where almost all had gotten the virus.

The role of managers was key in this situation, especially the HR and the team leaders in the factory. They spent hundreds of hours talking with the workers, explaining how lucky they were to be safe and have a job, added some changes to the menu, bought extra fans, arranged online doctor consultations … They organized every weekend special events, cooking classes, game competitions. I became a French teacher for a while!
We of course lost some workers but ended the stay-in on 23. October with 190 staff.

The whole management team also stayed in the factory, including 2 ex-pats, leading their team by showing the example


3. Contribute to the community

Geuther contributed to the Binh Duong Covid fund and had multiple contacts with Authorities and local hospitals to see how we could help. We donated cribs to one hospital where orphans were sleeping on the floor. Our staff produced changing mats in their free time and many workers offered to donate part of their salaries to help those in need. Amazing to see such a community spirit which at the same gave a purpose to their work

Last Saturday, everyone finally went back home and this Monday, 50 more workers who were not able to stay in will be back at work. A unique experience, sometimes misunderstood in the West, but an experience that has forged friendships, respect, and strong bonds among all.

Invitation To Participate In The EuroCham Business Awards 2021

Dear BeluxCham Member,

As an incredibly tough 2021 will come to an end soon, it seemed an appropriate moment to end the year on a positive note.  Therefore we invite you to participate in the EuroCham Business Awards 2021.

This year, the EuroCham Business Awards 2021 will be a hybrid event and held on 19th November 2021. We encourage you to nominate yourself for 01 (one) or more of the categories below:

  1. Best INITIATIVE to support Vietnam during the 4th wave of COVID-19: This award will recognize the member that has shown great initiative in implementing an efficient and meaningful action to support Vietnam during this crisis, been a model of empathetic business and made a significant contribution to Vietnam.

  2. Best MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE to support workers, staff & their families: This award will recognize the business that has shown great commitment to its workers,   staff and their families during this extremely difficult time, mostly during the total lockdown   (summertime 2021) – It can be anything from financial support to moral support, or essential goods support, or healthcare support, etc.

  3. Best GREEN & SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIVE Business: This award will recognize the     business that came up with environmentally friendly, green and/or sustainable action, or   improved its impact on the environment

Please submit your nominations (one or more) by fill-in BeluxCham_EuroCham Business Awards 2021_Nomination Form and sending it back to us via email: info@beluxcham.com before 5:00 PM (Vietnam Time) on Friday, 5th November 2021.

BeluxCham can submit 01 (one) nomination for each of the above categories to the EuroCham longlist. The EuroCham Judges Panel (which consists of independent persons and are non-related to EuroCham) will select out of that list a shortlist of candidates to go into the grand finale on 19th November 2021. In case we have several member candidates for 1 or more of the Award categories, the Board will consider and select for submission the final BeluxCham candidate for each category before 1St November 2021