Vietnam boosts trade with Latin America
By Thuy Dung - The Saigon Times Daily
HANOI – Vietnam is ready to boost trade and investment cooperation in petroleum, energy, consumption goods and aqua-products with Latin American nations and at the same time, import materials from these countries.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was speaking about this at the opening in Hanoi on Thursday of a forum themed Vietnam-Latin America: Trade and Investment Partners for Development.
The bilateral trade and investment relationship between Vietnam and Latin America is developing strongly. Over the past ten years, two-way trade has increased by 17 times, hitting US$5.17 billion last year.
Multiple investment projects in the strategic fields of energy and telecommunications are underway.
However, according to the Prime Minister, bilateral trade still makes up a small fraction of each country’s foreign trade value. The number of investment projects is still limited, while Vietnam and Latin American countries have yet to comprehend their partners, investment climate and business environment.
Vietnam is a large market with a population of nearly 90 million and a strategic location in Southeast Asia. As a member of many regional and international trade bodies, Vietnam has formed trade and investment relationships with almost all nations and territories worldwide.
The country last year exported US$200 billion worth of products.
Over 13,700 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects are operational in Vietnam, with total registered capital of more than US$200 billion. Meanwhile, the country currently has some 700 investment projects abroad, worth nearly US$12 billion.
Agriculture, light industry, transport and telecommunications are among the strengths of Vietnam.
Latin America, with a population of over 570 million, abundant natural resources like petroleum and minerals, and advantages in agriculture, construction, new energy, biotechnology and tourism, is an important trading partner of Vietnam.
Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said the forum would feature three symposiums called “Vietnam-Latin America business and investment environment”, “Vietnam-Latin America connectivity in traffic, logistics, telecommunications and services” and “Vietnam-Latin America partnership in agriculture and energy”. These are the potential fields for cooperation.
On this occasion, Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said VCCI had established a Vietnam-Latin America Business Council to organize trade promotion events, meetings, conferences and seminars between Vietnam and Latin America countries.
“I hope the business council will narrow the geographical distance and help the two sides learn more about trade and investment policies of each other,” said Loc.