A recent sojourn by the Netherlands' crown prince to Vietnam, accompanied by representatives from Dutch businesses, resulted in the establishment of a number of long-term business partnerships - mainly in maritime industries. On the final day of the Prince's visit, Vietnam Investment Reivew's Ha Giang talked with Martin Bloem, CEO of HME - a Dutch assocation of maritime equipment makers involved in market surveys and trade promotion activities - about the strength of the relationship between the Netherlands and Vietnam.
What is your assessment of Vietnam's maritime potential?
After two visits to Vietnam to investigate investment opportunities, I have found a great deal of potetial for maritime cooperation.
The Netherlands and Vietnam have similar geographical points, Vietnam has an important position in Asia and the Netherlands is also in a central posistion in Europe. The Netherlands' maritime indsutry has developed over several centuries and the Netherlands has extensive knowledge and a large amount of experience in the industry.
The Netherlands has a great deal of experience building dredgers, river transport ships and coasters, and ships with an average of 70,000dwt. Vietnam should invest in these ships as I believe this is the right choice for the country. As I know from experience, it is appropriate to let big powers such as China, Japan and the Republic of Korea build heavy-tonnage ships in competition with each other, and we should invest in ships of average sizes, which suit Vietnam's human and material powers. I also find the Vietnamese to be an intelligent, resolute people with long-term strategies. Vietnam also makes large investments in shipbuilding infrastructure. This is a favorable condition for investors like us. However, to build beautiful, modern and hi-tech ships, it is necessary to pay attention to experience and techniques so that Vietnam's shipping industry can build its trademark and make it known to the world.
With this end in view, we can transfer technology, knowledge and construction research, and design consulting centres and schools, This is an open approach and we can exchange ideas of cooperation as the basis for the long-term development of the shipping industry.
What is your opinion of the success of the visit?
The results of the recent visit were very good. We saw Vietnam's shipping potential, and gained a good impression of the country and people, as well as signed many contracts worth millions of euros. Dutch company Dasmen signed a contract with Song Gam Shipbuilding company in Haiphong to build four heavy-tonnage ships, Van de Ploeg signed a contract to supply hydraulic presses used in building ships. Some other companies, like Conoshy and Ned Deck Marine, succeeded in singing contracts with Vietnamese joint-venture companies.
The visit has created opportunities for many companies to find partners, form joint-ventures and reach long-term business agreements. I hope that, through good trade cooperation, cooperative relations will be lifted to a higher level so that people involved will become lasting trustworthy investment partners.
Does the Netherlands intend to invest in Vietnam on a long-term basis?
The Netherlands has a developed maritime economy and Vietnam is also in a favourable geographic position with a long coastline. This will create a good investment cooperation relationship in such areas as shipbuilding and seaport development.
Vietnam does not yet have adequate shipbuilding infrastructure but this will no hinder cooperation relations as the Netherlands will assist in building infrastructure.