Vietnamese and Dutch Businesses: Looking for Cooperation Opportunities in Areas of Strong Mutual Interest

3:10:03 PM | 4/22/2011

The four day visit (28-31 March, 2011) of the Royal Prince of Orange and the Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to Vietnam, accompanied the Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker together its business delegation of over 80 Dutch companies is a new seal for Vietnam-Netherlands cooperation. The visit also strengthens ties in business, fostering knowledge exchange and government-to-government cooperation in various fields.
Vietnam – an ideal market for the Netherlands
The official visit of Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to Vietnam accompanied by an economic mission focuses on 5 main sectors, including water, agriculture, transport and logistics, the maritime sector, and oil and gas.
According to Mr Joop Scheffers, the Netherlands Ambassador to Vietnam, Vietnam is not only a promising and attractive emerging market, but also a highly competitive one. He stressed that both sides have been looking for areas of strong mutual interest. The five sectors are the focus of this large economic mission to Vietnam and these are areas that the Dutch can offer real added value to Vietnam. The Netherlands is already the single largest EU investor in Vietnam. The fact that business between the Netherlands and Vietnam is ever growing is shown by the large number of signings during the visit. “More than 20 agreements are signed and sealed during this visit, both commercial and non-commercial,” said Joop Scheffers.
The goal of the visit is to strengthen ties in business, foster knowledge exchange and government-to-government cooperation in various fields. The delegation also includes the Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment Joop Atsma and top-level Dutch water experts, with the aim of fleshing out the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the Netherlands in the areas of water management and climate change adaptation.
 “Vietnam has set itself the objective of evolving into an industrialized economy by the year 2020. Turning this high ambition into reality will require a great deal of investment, expertise and cooperation in various sectors of the economy. Dutch investors and companies are ready to assist Vietnam in addressing the many challenges ahead. Moreover, we can build on the strong relations between our two countries. This royal visit serves to cement the already excellent relation between Vietnam and the Netherlands,” said Joop Scheffers.
As is the case in Vietnam, the agricultural and food sectors form a strong pillar of the economy in the Netherlands. It is actually nothing short of a miracle: the Netherlands – small in size, densely populated and heavily industrialised – is the second-largest agrifood exporter worldwide. Many Dutch companies have been very successful in Vietnam such as FrieslandCampina, CSM, DSM, Unilever, Nutreco, etc. The international orientation of the Dutch agrifood sector is reflected in the presence of Dutch companies in Vietnam. Most Vietnamese people know the Dutch Lady brand. These are dairy products sold by FrieslandCampina, which has made considerable investment in Vietnam and now delivers its quality nutrition to a great many Vietnamese households.
Many SMEs in the business delegation visiting Vietnam are also active in the Dutch agrifood sector. For example, Geerlofs is an innovative niche player in the refrigeration sector that is already doing business with Vietnam. Another Dutch company also showed interest in Vietnamese market is Nedap. Mr Andries Oosterhof, Sales Area Manager for Asia, said, “Pig production is scaling up in Vietnam. This is where we can add considerable value. I hope that, in five to ten years’ time, we will be able to look back and conclude with our Vietnamese partners that we’ve jointly built up a booming business. In partnership with the public sector, the Dutch pig industry is ready to increase the quality of the livestock production chain, contributing to food safety and animal health in Vietnam.”
The Netherlands puts a strong focus on Vietnam
A whole host of Dutch companies, large and small, are active in the energy sector, typically Fugro. “We have been active in Vietnam for many years,” said Sven Plasman, General Manager of Fugro Singapore. “Fugro collects processes and interprets data related to the earth’s surface and the soils and rocks beneath. We provide advice to our Vietnamese clients on the basis of those results. As Vietnam’s economy keeps expanding, Fugro is well placed to provide support in infrastructure developments; address various water-management problems; and provide a wide range of services for oil and gas exploration, development and production.”
Another Dutch company taking part in business delegation is NEM – a supplier of custom-made solutions aimed at Industrial, Utility and Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) for power generation and industrial applications. NEM has already delivered HRSGs to two gas-fired power stations run by EVN in Ba Ria and Phu My. And the company is very much interested in offering more Heat Recovery Steam Generators to future projects in the power generation sector, as well as the oil & gas industry in Vietnam.
At the same time, Royal Dutch/Shell, headquartered in the Netherlands and one of the world’s largest energy companies, is currently expanding its business in Vietnam. In addition, Royal Vopak – the world’s biggest independent provider of conditioned-storage facilities and related services for the chemical and oil sectors – is looking for new opportunities in this market. Mr Patrick van der Voort, President of Vopak Asia revealed: “In Vietnam, Vopak manages and operates a chemical distribution terminal in Dong Nai province. In addition to this facility, we are looking for new opportunities to assist Vietnam in developing key bulk liquid infrastructure to accommodate the growth of the country.”
Another potential field for both sides’ cooperation is ports. According to Mr Kees Weststrate, Senior Project Manager at Port of Rotterdam International – the largest port in Europe – the Port of Rotterdam is busy building up a network of international ports and naturally, it would very much like to include Vietnam in this network, particularly the Ports of Haiphong and Danang. “We are very keen to join forces with local governments in Vietnam, and we believe that we have much to offer to them: not just investments, but also our expertise and the very strong global reputation enjoyed by Rotterdam. Vietnam is for us the place to be. It’s an emerging economy. Its people work hard and are very pleasant to work together with,” added Kees Weststrate.
Duy Khang