Russia, Vietnam target US$10 billion in trade by 2020

15:29 | 28/12/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev have agreed to step up large-scale projects in the fields of energy, industry, transport and agriculture, and to expand collaboration in information, digital technology and e-government.

Meeting in Hanoi on November 19 during Medvedev’s official two-day visit to Vietnam, they also affirmed their commitment to building a US$350-million Nuclear Science and Technology Center, while encouraging cooperation in urban transport infrastructure and railway development in Vietnam.

Trade growth

Since the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union came into effect in October 2016, the trade value between the two countries has grown strongly, reaching US$3.55 billion in 2017. In the first eight months of 2018, Russian exports to Vietnam have soared by almost 50 percent, due to a boost in traditional export items such as machinery and equipment, oil products, and metal, as well as new export items like foodstuffs and agricultural products.

Meanwhile, Vietnam also increased its exports to Russia in areas such as electronics, aquatic products, fruit, tea, and coffee. However, both sides concede that trade and investment have yet to meet their full potential.

Vietnam exports telephones, garments, agricultural products, and seafood to Russia, and imports gasoline, steel, fertilizers, machinery and equipment of all kinds.

Russia ranks 23rd among the countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 116 projects worth US$990 million in registered capital, mostly in oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, transport, telecommunications, and aquaculture.
Vietnam currently invests in 22 projects worth nearly US$3 billion in Russia, predominantly in Rusvietpetro and Gazpromviet oil and gas ventures, Hanoi-Moscow Center for Culture, Trade and Hotels, and TH True Milk’s cow farming and agriculture, among others.

According to Party General Secretary, President Nguyen Phu Trong, who also held talks with Medvedev, trade is not commensurate with its potential and the countries’ strong diplomatic and political relations.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh attributed this to ineffective trade promotion mechanisms, lack of market information, and payment and bureaucratic hurdles.

Further oil, gas cooperation

Phuc and Medvedev hailed the outcomes of the 21st meeting of the Vietnam-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee on economic-trade and science-technology cooperation in Moscow in late October 2018. Both sides promised to coordinate and address barriers to the import and export of goods, especially agro-fishery-forestry products, with the aim of raising two-way trade to US$10 billion by 2020.

The two prime ministers conveyed satisfaction with the results of the cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, considering it one of the important pillars of the relationship. They vowed to continue facilitating exploration and exploitation on Vietnam’s continental shelf and Russia’s territory, and encourage the expansion of cooperation in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas power supply.

The two leaders reached a consensus on the importance of security and defense cooperation, pledging to renew collaboration in the fields of science and technology, culture, tourism, education training and labor, as well as partnerships between localities.

At the end of the talks, PM Phuc thanked Russian leader for helping the Vietnamese community in his country.
Russia and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1950, and decided to elevate the relationship to a strategic partnership in 2001, and then to a comprehensive strategic partnership 11 years later. Political ties have been enhanced through the regular exchange of delegations and bilateral meetings at all levels, and via the mechanism of consultation and strategic dialogue.

Since 2001, there have been high-level mutual visits almost every year. Russian President Vladimir Putin made two official visits to Vietnam in 2001 and 2006, and attended the APEC Vietnam 2017 summit where he met several Vietnamese leaders.

Top Vietnamese leaders have also officially visited Russia in recent years, with the most recent visit by Party General Secretary, President Nguyen Phu Trong in September 2018. While in Hanoi, Medvedev also met with National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Ngo Thu