08:52 | 23/10/2015 Cooperation
Vietnam is considered an attractive destination and potential market for Finnish enterprises, especially those operating in the fields of education and ICT, said Finnish Ambassador in Vietnam Ilkka-Pekka Simila.
Vietnam and Finland enjoyed a total trade turnover of over US$215.6 million during the first eight months this year (Image credit: VNA)
The Finnish ambassador was speaking during a conference on investment opportunities and tools to support Vietnam-Finland trade connections, held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)-Ho Chi Minh City branch on October 20.
According to Ilkka-Pekka Simila, bilateral relations between Vietnam and Finland have been firmly consolidated; Vietnam has always been considered an important partner of Finland in economic, trade and investment co-operation. In addition, a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU was basically completed last August, contributing to bringing in new opportunities and more favourable conditions for Vietnam and Finland to promote bilateral and multilateral co-operation in the future.
Director of VCCI- HCM City branch Vo Tan Thanh stressed that one of the positive signs of the fine bilateral co-operation between Vietnam and Finland is the gradual decrease in trade deficit, particularly in 2014 to just over US$56.6 million (down 22% compared with 2013). In addition, during Jan-Aug of 2015, the two nations’ total trade turnover reached over US$215.6 million, of which Vietnamese exports to Finland reached approximately US$78 million and imports US$137 million.
On the other hand, Vietnam and Finland have promoted co-operation in education in previous years, with the Northern Europe country deciding to include Vietnam (the only country in Asia) on the list receiving sponsorship for Phase 2 of its supported educational North-South-South programme. Lecturers and students at tertiary and higher education will go on exchange under the programme.
Several Vietnamese training units have also established co-operative relations with Finland including Hai Phong University and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. In the field of technology, the two countries have developed the Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Programme (IPP), in which Finland provides support of non-refundable aid worth US$3 million.
Experts at the conference said that co-operation between the two countries is still not commensurate with potential in many areas. For example, Vietnam and Finland still have significant disparities in trade balance, while there are many opportunities for co-operation in the fields of education and ICT.
They suggested business communities in Vietnam and Finland take advantage of investment opportunities and strengthen measures to support trade connections between trade promotion units, and expand market and investment partnerships./.