HCM CITY (VNS)— India and Viet Nam have yet to exploit their vast business potential despite the excellent bilateral ties for more than 40 years, a meeting heard in HCM City yesterday.
Speaking at the India-Viet Nam Investment Round Table attended by visiting Indian executives, Abhay Thakur, the Indian consul general in HCM City, said bilateral trade has grown 20-fold in the last 12 years and doubled since 2009 to US$4 billion.
"At this rate, our trade turnover should cross $5 billion this year and is on track to reach the target of $7 billion in 2015."
Indian companies have invested nearly $800 million in Viet Nam in agro-processing, petroleum, fast moving consumer goods, and other sectors.
Yet the diplomat and participants agreed that trade and investment co-operation between the two countries do not match their potential.
They have great potential for co-operation in many areas like agro-processing, healthcare, and manufacture of two-wheel vehicles and textiles, Thakur said.
Viet Nam is among the world's leading garment exporters but has to import nearly 80 per cent of raw materials for production, so alliances between Indian textile material and machinery suppliers and Vietnamese garment factories can benefit both sides, he said.
While 150 Indian firms are present in Viet Nam, there is hardly any traffic in the opposite direction, he pointed out, adding Vietnamese companies in fisheries, IT, and education can join hands with Indian partners for mutual benefit.
Jesudas Bell, director of Futurelinks International Company, said with Viet Nam investing to upgrade its infrastructure, huge opportunities exist for Indian companies, including consultancy for roads and highways and water supply and waste water treatment.
They can also supply equipment for in power generation and transmission, railways, and urban water supply and treatment projects and technology, equipment, and even rolling stock to the railways, he said.
Vu Xuan Dang, deputy director of the Investment Promotion Centre office in the south, said Viet Nam encourages investment in many sectors like supporting industry, technology, electronics and IT, machinery, chemicals, tourism, healthcare, training, and eco-tourism.
He introduced about investment policies as well as incentive investment sectors and regions.
"To improve the investment environment, the country will continue to review its investment and business laws and policies," he said.
The country would focus on improving infrastructure and human resources and simplifying administrative procedures to attract more foreign investors, he said.
Indian officials and businesses also solicited investment by Vietnamese firms in the Indian food processing industry.
It is the most dynamic sector in the India economy, they said, adding that consumers spent more than 31 per cent of their income on food items.
Food and food products are the largest consumption category in India, with a market expected to top $258 billion by 2015, they said.
Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the municipal People's Committee, provided an overview of the opportunities for business and investment.
Le Phuoc Vu, chairman of the Viet Nam-India Business Forum and chairman of steel Hoa Sen Group, said to boost investment between the two countries, it is important to keep potential investors informed about policies and specific opportunities. — VNS