|Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and the Middle East and Africa over the past 10 years from US$2 billion in 2005 to US$15.7 billion in 2014.— FIle Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam is willing to be a gateway for goods and services from the Middle East and Africa to navigate the markets of ASEAN member states, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said at a seminar held by the Foreign Ministry in the capital city yesterday.
He expressed his satisfaction with the eight-fold increase in bilateral trade between Viet Nam and the Middle East and Africa over the past 10 years from US$2 billion in 2005 to US$15.7 billion in 2014. It reached $8.7 billion in the first seven months of this year.
Deputy PM Ninh spoke highly of the workshop's significance in promoting co-operation between Viet Nam and countries in the Middle East and Africa, particularly in economic, trade and investment relations.
Ninh affirmed the Vietnamese Government's commitment to creating favourable conditions for foreign businesses, particularly those from the Middle East and Africa, to invest and operate long-term in Viet Nam.
The Vietnamese Government expected that these countries would also support Vietnamese businesses to operate effectively in the strategic region with diverse natural resources, over 40 million square km in size and a population of nearly 1.6 billion inhabitants, the official said.
A number of Middle East and African firms have invested in key Vietnamese projects in the fields of oil and gas, seaports, industry and construction materials.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese businesses, including PetroVietnam and Viettel Telecoms, have successfully expanded their businesses in the Middle East and Africa.
Joint work in labour exports, exchanges of medical staff and collaboration in the farming and education sectors are also a spotlight in multi-faceted co-operation between the two sides.
The Vietnamese government had committed all possible support to foreign enterprises, and those from the Middle East and Africa in particular, Ninh said.
Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi said he hoped the seminar would map out new solutions to fine-tune legal regulations that facilitate business networking and diverse bilateral collaboration.
Vietnamese businesses, particularly those operating on small and medium scales, must improve their competitiveness to expand their operations into the Middle East and Africa, he said.
Nguyen Song Ha, assistant FAO representative, told participants that Viet Nam was one of the key providers of medium- to long-term technical assistance in the FAO's South-South Cooperation framework (SSC), only second to China. The feedback from African countries on the quality of SSC solutions by Viet Nam is extremely positive.
Bakri Yousif Omer, secretary general of the Sudanese Businessmen and Employers Federation (SBEF), told the seminar that during the last 15 years, trade flows between Africa and Asia had rapidly increased. This was the hallmark of the recent growth of South-South trade and investment.
He added that the bilateral trade exchange between Viet Nam and Sudan had exceeded expectations.
Participants also presented their ideas featuring bilateral economic prospects at the seminar, including investment attraction opportunities and recommendations for Viet Nam-Africa farming and fisheries coordination.
With three main discussion panels, the workshop created an opportunity for delegates to get updated on economic development prospects in Viet Nam and countries in the Middle East and Africa, review co-operation between Viet Nam and the countries, exchange experiences and seek effective ways to enhance the co-operation. The workshop also helped businesses meet, establish ties and form a basis for future co-operation. — VNS