|Viet Nam exports mainly agricultural products such as rice, tea, coffee, pepper, rubber, wood, clothing, shoes, motorcycle part and mobile phones to Iran.— File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS)— Iran is increasingly focusing on Asia and especially Viet Nam and other members of ASEAN with the aim of increasing trade ties, speakers said yesterday at a conference.
Organised by the Iranian Embassy and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in HCM City, the conference was participated by representatives from nearly 20 Iranian companies who come to seek business opportunities.
Speaking at the event, Iranian Ambassador Hossein Alvandi Behineh said: "One of the main obstacles hindering businesses is the lack of adequate, updated information about trade and economic opportunities between the two countries."
Both sides should find ways to remove these obstacles and expand trade relations to a higher level of US$1 billion a year, he added.
With a pivotal geographical location in the Middle East and as a member of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, Iran can provide "an easy access for Vietnamese products to the Middle East, Central Asian and CIS countries", he said.
"On the other side, Viet Nam is a potential market for Iranian companies to establish their business here, thanks to its strategic geographical location and membership of ASEAN in Southeast Asia with over 750 million people."
Vo Tan Thanh, director general of VCCI branch in HCM City, said the two countries had signed agreements that form the foundation for further trade.
Bilateral trade has increased in the past 10 years, from US$6.5 million in 2001 to $185 million in 2011 and $316 million last year.
"But it is still modest compared to the potential of the two countries," he said.
Hossein said that Iran and Viet Nam could be "two wings of the economic-political belt in Asia which can be a gateway for expansion of trade and distribution of goods for each other".
Potential fields of cooperation between the two countries can be in energy, petrochemical, agriculture, fisheries, construction, foodstuff, garment, shoes, pharmaceuticals, tourism and others, he said.
To enhance economic ties between the two countries, Thanh said "problems involving payment methods must be solved".
Habibollah Pour Motahar, deputy head of mission counsellor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said to eliminate payment barriers in other currencies, businesses should attempt to trade via the national currency.
This is similar to the way Iran trades with China, Russia, India and other countries, as Iran must deal with trade embargoes against its country. He also encourages companies to use barter as a means of trade.
Motahar also urged the two countries to launch direct flights and direct shipping lines to facilitate trade and reduce transport costs.
Viet Nam exports mainly agricultural products such as rice, tea, coffee, pepper, rubber, wood, clothing, shoes, motorcycle part and mobile phones to Iran.
It imports bitumen, petrochemical and other chemical products such as urea, textiles and raw leather from Iran. — VNS