India seeks closer economic ties with VN

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020 08:00

Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, tells the virtual India – Viet Nam Business Forum on October 20 that India and Viet Nam can establish partnerships in areas. — Photo courtesy of the organisers

There is huge potential for co-operation with Viet Nam in sectors like hospitality, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure development, energy, service, IT, mining, and agriculture, a senior Indian foreign affairs official has said.

Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said: “The two sides can establish new partnerships in areas such as marine food products, agro-products, textiles, garments, leather and footwear, and electrical machinery and equipment in order to diversify the trade basket.”

Trade between India and Viet Nam has been growing steadily since 2000.

For India, Viet Nam is the 18th largest trading partner globally and the fourth largest in Southeast Asia after Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, she told the India – Viet Nam Business Forum held on October 20.

India is Viet Nam’s seventh largest trading partner, she said.

“Our export from India to Viet Nam includes bovine meat, fishery products, corn, steel, pharmaceuticals, cotton, and machinery while our imports from Viet Nam include mobile phones, electrical machinery and equipment, computers, electronic hardware, natural rubber, chemicals, and coffee.”

Vo Tan Thanh, director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCM City branch, said bilateral trade has increased significantly in recent years to reach US$11.2 billion last year, with Viet Nam’s exports accounting for over $6.6 billion.

In the first seven months of this year, despite the pandemic, their trade has topped $5 billion, he said, adding they hope to increase it to $15 billion a year in the near future.

As of June Indian companies had invested $887 million in 278 projects in Viet Nam, mainly in energy, mining, agro-processing, sugar, tea, coffee manufacturing, agrochemicals, IT, and auto components.

Vietnamese investment in India was worth $28.55 million in pharmaceuticals, IT, chemicals, and construction materials.

Das said: “Our bilateral trade turnover is still not commensurate with the levels of our economic development. And therefore, we need to do more to broaden and intensify our trade relations to achieve its full potential.”

She said with the many measures taken by her government to liberalise and open all sectors to 100 per cent foreign investment, reform the banking and capital sector and announce multi-billion dollar projects in housing, renewable energy, railways, roads, infrastructure, and ports, India has continued to attract large foreign investment even during the Covid time.

She urged Vietnamese companies to explore opportunities for investment in India in food processing, leather, infrastructure, and other areas where they have expertise.

Pham Sanh Chau, Viet Nam’s ambassador to India, said while the two countries could be seen as competitors in attracting FDI, but in complementary fields, they have a lot of potential to invest in each other.

He urged Vietnamese firms to pay more attention to investing in India, an “increasingly important market” in the world.

Organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi in collaboration with the ministry, the India consulate in HCM City, the Investment Promotion Centre Southern Vietnam, and VCCI in HCM City, the forum was followed by a B2B session on various sectors like fisheries, agriculture and food processing, iron and steel, chemicals, automobiles, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. — VNS

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