Boosting Cooperation for More Productive Trade, Investment Ties

8:47:36 AM | 15/1/2020

In 2020, Russia and Vietnam are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations and June 16 will mark the 25th year since signing the Treaty on Basic Principles of Friendly Relations between the two countries. Economic and commercial cooperation, especially business connectivity, plays an important role in Vietnam - Russia relations. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Ms. Tran Thi Thu Trang, Chief Officer of International Relations Department, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), about this issue. Anh Mai reports.

Currently, many Russian businesses are interested in Vietnam’s market. Could you please tell us what are industries of potential cooperation?

In recent years and especially in 2019, we have witnessed the two countries exchanging a lot of political, diplomatic, defense and trade delegations. As the Russian Federation is confronting numerous difficulties as a result of the embargo imposed by Western countries, many Russian business delegations have shifted to Vietnam for business cooperation opportunities.

In addition to good cooperative relations in energy, machinery and equipment manufacturing, automobile, chemical and metallurgy, Russian partners are interested in the Vietnamese market. They are keen on exporting construction materials, vehicles, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, functional foods, short- and medium-range aircraft to Vietnam, while importing animal meat, seafood, agricultural products and consumer goods from the Southeast Asian nation.

What should Vietnamese enterprises equip themselves to boost good business and investment cooperation with Russian partners?

Russia is the only comprehensive strategic partner of Vietnam in Europe. Vietnam is the only and first country with which the Eurasian Economic Union (which consists of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) signed a free trade agreement. Fine political and diplomatic relations have developed well. Sufficient and favorable legal basis supports the two business communities to establish cooperation for mutual development. Besides, economically, the two countries’ exports are not competitive but complementary to each other.

On the Governmental side, the two countries have continuously introduced measures to strengthen two-way trade relations to avoid this decline, such as exchanging high-level delegations, providing specific solutions to economic and commercial issues at the meetings of the Intergovernmental Committee, delivering direct support for trade and investment promotion activities.

On the business side, in fact, many Vietnamese are doing business successfully in Russia while many others had to give up this market for many subjective and objective reasons. With its experience of enhancing business connectivity, VCCI believes that, in order to be successful in Russia, Vietnamese companies need to pay attention to issues such as grasping the business culture and consumer habits; studying payment, language and shipping issues. In addition, they should approach the market patiently and methodically. Small businesses with limited capabilities should take advantage of support from promotion agencies such as VCCI through promotion events like direct meetings with Russian businesses, conferences/seminars and experience sharing.

With preferential tariffs from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Eurasia Economic Union, Vietnam's goods can reach not only Russia but also five EEU countries which focus on industrial development but lack consumer goods and foods. Therefore, Vietnamese companies should not ignore this advantage.

In 2019 and 2020, what are the important activities VCCI has been, and will be, organizing to strengthen the Vietnam - Russia strategic partnership?

In 2020, the two countries are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, called the Vietnam - Russia Year and the Russia - Vietnam Year or Vietnam-Russia Cross Year. This major event of great significance will strengthen and deepen bilateral relations and will be joined by many ministries, agencies, localities and mass organizations of both sides. In this context, trade promotion initiatives are very important and highly appreciated by the two business communities and the two governments.

As a trade promotion agency that represents the business community, within the framework of the Vietnam - Russia Cross Year (2019 - 2020), the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has proactively proposed, and has been assigned by the Prime Minister, to launch activities to support the Vietnamese business community in strengthening trade and investment relations with the Russian market.

On June 6, 2019, VCCI represented the Vietnamese business community to attend the 23rd Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019 (SPIEF-2019). Under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the forum was attended by about 17,000 senior guests from 140 countries, including Vietnam. SPIEF was a good opportunity for companies to get updated information on the world economy, and take advantage of directions, policies and recommendations from world economic experts to build their business strategies.

On October 29, 2019, at the 22nd meeting of the Vietnam - Russia Intergovernmental Committee, VCCI collaborated with the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights to organize a dialogue meeting for enterprises with government officials of the two countries, chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Akimov. The two Deputy Prime Ministers delivered speeches and talked to nearly 200 Vietnamese and Russian businesses on issues of mutual concern.

From November 14-16, 2019, VCCI cooperated with Zarubezh Group and other partners to organize the Vietnam - Russia International Exhibition and the Vietnam - Russia Trade and Investment Promotion Forum in Hanoi. 2019 is the third edition of the exhibition after two previous ones in 2015 and 2017. At this multisector exhibition, the two sides exchanged good experiences of industry representatives from 19 regions in Russia. The exhibition attracted nearly 500 Vietnamese and Russian businesses; and organized nearly 300 face-to-face meetings for Vietnamese and Russian businesses. This was the first year for more than 20 provinces and cities of Vietnam to introduce potential and policies to attract investment. This showed that the Russian Federation has increasingly become a destination attractive to Vietnamese businesses and vice versa. Vietnam has also affirmed its position as one of the biggest partners of Russia in Asia. More than 100 cooperation agreements and commercial contracts were signed at this event.

In 2020, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is expected to step up cooperation with Russian promotion partners to organize support activities for the two business communities. The 2020 highlight will be the Vietnam - Russian Economic Forum, to be held in the third quarter, for economists, businesses and investors of the two countries. Besides, the Russian market, VCCI will accelerate support for enterprises to develop EEU markets where Russia is a key member.

Thank you very much!