HA NOI — Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union surged during the past seven months of this year.
Two-way trade between Viet Nam and Russia increased by 34 per cent year-on-year to US$1.34 billion, according to the General Department of Customs.
Of the total, $821 million came from Vietnamese exports including garments, computers, electronics, phones and components, seafood and coffee, up 34 per cent. Viet Nam's imports from the market topped $516 million, a yearly increase of 39 per cent.
Among Viet Nam's key import items from Russia were iron and steel, diesel, fertiliser and machinery and equipment.
During the period, trade turnover between Viet Nam and Kazakhstan also experienced impressive growth of 91.3 per cent to rake in $41 million. Of the sum, Vietnamese exports, mainly phones and accessories and seafood, contributed $32 million, while imports made up $9 million.
Meanwhile, bilateral trade with Belarus fetched $100 million during the January-July period, with Viet Nam registering a trade deficit of $91 million.
Viet Nam could increase bilateral trade with the Customs Union further, the department noted.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with Viet Nam, which is expected to bring economic, trade, service and investment benefits to all parties.
The FTA between Viet Nam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would open up prospects for a large free trade area and tighten the traditional and strategic relations between the four countries, said the head of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Dang Hoang Hai.
"Russia is interested in an FTA with Viet Nam as the Southeast Asian country may develop a strategic position that helps Russia restore its presence in Asia, particularly in the Southeast Asia region," Hai said.
The FTA would enable Viet Nam to boost its agricultural, seafood and garment exports to Russia, and Russia to export fertiliser, oil and gas, atomic energy, heavy industry and cars to Viet Nam.
Viet Nam's trade with Russia is expected to reach $5 billion in 2015 and $10 billion in 2020. —VNS