|Craftswomen of Hien Luong fine arts company make handicraft products for export. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HCM CITY (VNS)— Bilateral trade turnover between Viet Nam and Russia is set to increase to US$7 billion by 2015, thanks to the steady growth started since 2007.
A Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) report yesterday cited experts saying that trade between the two countries has grown at an average of 28 per cent each year in the 2007-12 period.
In just 2012, bilateral trade turnover was $3.7 billion.
The experts further predicted that the turnover would rise to $12 billion when the free trade agreement between Viet Nam and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is signed. The third round of negotiations for the agreement will be held next month.
When the agreement is signed, they said, the Russian market would be open up further to Vietnamese products and those that were exported to Russia will be taken to Belarus and Kazakhstan as well.
A representative of a Russia's trade office was quoted by the newspaper as saying Russian companies were very interested in the Vietnamese market and wanted to expand trade and business relations with the country.
According to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, Viet Nam's exports to Russia exceeded $1 billion in the first seven months of this year.
Seafood topped the export list at over $34 million, followed by vegetables and fruit, tea, coffee, pepper, rice, garment, footwear and telephones.
Regarding seafood exports to Russia, the prospects for further development are bright because Russians are increasingly using fish and fish-based products in their meals.
Pham Quang Niem, a high-ranking official at the Vietnamese Embassy in Moscow, said that in 2007, Russian per capita consumption of seafood was 12.6kg per year. It increased to 20kg in 2010 and 22kg in 2012.
"This figure is going to be 23.7kg in 2020, which presents a great opportunity for Vietnamese seafood exporters," he said.
However, experts also warned that to increase exports to Russia, local companies should ensure quality and food safety of their products.
In the first seven months of the year, Viet Nam imported goods worth $485 million from Russia.
According to the customs department, exports from Viet Nam to Russia have grown at a faster rate than Russian exports because the latter faces strong competition from European countries.
While Viet Nam mostly exports agriculture products to Russia, it imports machinery, fertiliser and chemical products. — VNS