HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam hopes to expand economic co-operation with the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, which is known as the SNG group.
Director of the Europe Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang Hai said the expected signing of free trade agreement (FTA) with the Customs Union would play an important role in accelerating economic relations and offer new business opportunities to Vietnamese enterprises.
Two-way trade with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan during the past three years saw an average annual rise of 6.6 per cent, 36.8 per cent and 19.7 per cent, respectively.
"However, these figures are still below the potential," said Hai.
The two sides agreed to start FTA negotiation early next year and aimed to have a deal worked out in two years with a goal of US$5 billion in bilateral trade with Russia alone by 2015.
The FTA could increase imports to Viet Nam from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan by 75 per cent, 83 per cent and 83 per cent, and expand exports to the three countries by 63 per cent, 41 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, said Hai.
Viet Nam could achieve high export growth for rice, food, garment and textile, leather and wood product exports while importing more fruit, oil and gas, meat, milk, automobiles and coal.
Viet Nam would also have more opportunities to benefit from the Custom Union's advanced technologies in the fields of energy, gas and oil and machinery.
However, the ability of Viet Nam to meet the import demands of the Customs Union remained low, said Hai, adding that one of the difficulties was competition from enterprises from more developed countries.
Vietnamese firms needed to adjust their production to meet demands on technical standards and hygiene and safety, he said.
To support enterprises, the Viet Nam-Russia Bank was established in 2006 by the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam and Bank for Foreign Trade of Russia.
The departments' deputy director Duong Hoang Minh said co-operation between Viet Nam and SNG countries aimed to create an advantageous business environment with preferential tax policies.
The SNG market covers a total area of more than 22 million square kilometres with a population of 279 million. — VNS