|Garment is one of Viet Nam's main products exported to the Middle East. — Photo ndh.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Countries in the Middle East have great potential for further trade cooperation with Viet Nam as bilateral trade volume has increased sharply since 2010, said Tran Quang Huy, Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Africa, West and South Asian Market Department.
Huy spoke to representatives of Vietnamese enterprises during a seminar held in HCM City yesterday.
Viet Nam's export revenue has increased four times within a four-year period, he said.
"The Middle East has become the fastest-growing market for Viet Nam. Currently, it contributes five per cent of Viet Nam's total export to the world market," Huy said, adding that total bilateral trade turnover was US$3.3 billion in 2010. Last year, the figure was roughly US$10 billion.
Four years ago, Viet Nam exported $1.6 billion to the market of 322 million people and export turnover in 2013 was US$6.7 billion, according to the ministry.
The region's per capita GDP is high due to profits from the oil industry. The Middle East has three-fourths of the world's oil resources.
"The region, which dominates the world's oil market, has huge capital. Enterprises in these countries try to think of how to use their money in the best ways to prepare for diminishing oil resources," Huy said.
Most of the countries in the region want to import Vietnamese agricultural and aquacultural products such as rice, spices and shrimp, and invest in Viet Nam's oil and real estate sectors.
Last year, the region's GDP growth was $3,553 billion, a growth of 3.1 percent.
Due to the current embargo from the West, Iran has huge demand for imports, while enterprises from the United Arab Emirate want to invest in real estate in other countries.
Le Ba Ngoc, trade counselor for Viet Nam in Kuwait, said the economic scale in Kuwait was small, mostly relying on petrol, but the purchasing capacity was strong.
The country's per capita GDP is $50,000. Ngoc estimates that the figure could be more, as 90 percent of the country's GDP is from petrol while its population is only 1.2 million.
Kuwait, which is a gateway for Vietnamese enterprises to enter the Iraq market, wants to import seafood, tea and other agricultural products from Viet Nam.
In Viet Nam, Kuwait has invested in the Nghi Son Oil Refinery project, and Saudi Arabia in the Zamil Steel Factory.
The United Arab Emirates has invested in the Hiep Phuoc Port, and Qatar the Long Son Oil Refinery project. In addition, Israel has invested in dairy production in Nghe An.
Viet Nam and Israel will sign a bilateral free trade agreement soon, according to the ministry. — VNS