|Rao bridge, linking Le Chan with Duong Kinh District in Hai Phong port city, is one of Finland's official development assistance (ODA) projects. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
HCM CITY (VNS)— The business communities of Viet Nam and Finland plan to strengthen relations to enhance trade between the two countries, delegates said at a seminar themed "Doing Business with Finland" in HCM City last Friday.
Tran Ngoc Liem, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in HCM City, told the attendees that bilateral trade was still modest, with US$304 million recorded last year.
However, that represented a year-on-year increase of 44 per cent, he added.
"In terms of investment, as of October, Finnish firms had invested in eight projects with a total registered capital of over $320 million, ranking Finland 27th of countries investing in Viet Nam," he said.
The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of $1 billion, Liem said, noting that the recent opening of direct flights between Helsinki and Ha Noi was expected to help in the effort.
"Vietnamese businesses should consider Finland a potential market since the country can be a gateway for Vietnamese goods to penetrate the EU market, which is the main export target of Viet Nam in the near future," Liem said.
Kimmo Lahdevirta, Finnish Ambassador to Viet Nam, said the seminar was held to help Vietnamese businesses learn about Finland and find partners, or invest in Finland.
"Finding partners is not always easy, which means that even more efforts from both Finnish and Vietnamese sides are needed," he said.
The first step is to find willing and able Vietnamese companies, he said, adding that he saw potential in ICT, clean technologies (including water, energy and environmental solutions), education and others.
Viet Nam has been one of the long-term development partners of Finland. Since 1973, Finland has assisted Viet Nam with some $400 million, he said.
"Currently, we are looking for new ways of co-operation, such as partnerships between companies and institutions," he said.
Finland has several instruments to support business partnerships, including the Finnish Business Partnership Programme (Finnpartnership) which promotes business co-operation between companies in Finland and those in developing countries.
Siv Ahlberg, Finnpartnership programme director, spoke about the business environment in Finland and Nordic countries, especially opportunities and online support tools for Vietnamese businesses to access Nordic markets.
Finnpartnership offers advisory services free of charge and financial support for Finnish companies' projects in developing countries, she said.
Vietnamese companies wishing to find new partners for business can apply to the matchmaking services by submitting applications at www.finnpartnership.fi/matchmaking, she said.
Organised by the Finnish Embassy to Viet Nam and VCCI in HCM City, the seminar is one of a series of activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Viet Nam. — VNS