Following the success of the Vietnam-Russian trade promotion program sponsored by the Government of the Russian Federation, Zarubezh Expo, an appointing organizer by the Russian government, co-operated Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and other related organizations for holding a successful series of events of Vietnam Business Forum and Expo Russia – Vietnam 2017.

During the three days of the event, “Vietnam – Russia Business Forum” and “Seminar: Vietnam and Russia Economic Cooperation in the framework of the Implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and Eurasian Economics (EEC)” are the most noted programs. On behalf of Vietnam, there was the attendance of Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung, Dr. Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of VCCI. Representing the Russian delegation was the Deputy Minister for Economic Development A.V. Gruzdev, Russia’s Trade ambassador to Vietnam V.N. Kharinov, director of the Industrial Policy Division of the Eurasian Economic Committee A.E. Kudasov.

The content of the forum consists of two main parts: economic cooperation between Russia and Vietnam in the framework of the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, and the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the two trade promotion agencies.

Signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between two trade promotion agencies.

On the sidelines of the forum are roundtable discussions on cooperation issues between Vietnam and the Russian Federation in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, health, science and education.

Vietnam – Russian Federation: A comprehensive strategic partnership

Throughout the seminar, the representatives of Vietnam affirmed that Russia is one of the comprehensive strategic partners of Vietnam before and during the implementation of the FTA, whose market is the largest in the EEC:

In economic fields, the export and import turnover of Vietnam-Russia two-way goods in the first 6 months of 2017 reached about $ 1.7 billion, up to 26% over the same period in 2016; i.e. Vietnam’s exports to Russia reached over US $ 1 billion (an increase of over 34%), and Vietnam’s imports from Russia amounted to US $ 664 million (nearly 16%). While Vietnam’s main exports are agricultural products, seafood, textiles, iron and steel; Russia’s export advantage is that livestock products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.) which are certified for epidemiological safety, cereals, paper products, petrol, automobiles and vehicle components.

In terms of development cooperation, the quantity and quality of projects in the areas of investment, science, technology and technology tend to increase.

The Russian representatives said that the cooperation between Vietnam and the Russian Federation was established based on a strong relationship and long friendship. Russia appreciates the potential of Vietnamese market which contains over 90 million people, with open opportunities to reach out to the ASEAN community. At the same time, Vietnam also has the advantage of developing economic relations with EEC member states (typically Vietnam – Kazakhstan) in the context of intra – regional trade of these countries is quite weak.

Potential cooperation

In the ASEAN region, Vietnam was the first country to sign a FTA with the EEC. Since the effective date of the said agreement (October 10, 2016), the Vietnamese business community has been supported by the Russian government, providing access to 183 million people with a combined GDP of nearly $ 2.2 trillion. This FTA also enhances transparency in public procurement, auditing, online registration or digital certifications; it promotes e-commerce, investment and greater application of rules of origin in trade in goods.

In addition, Russian enterprises who have the strength in energy and waste processing in the mining industry are looking to expand their investment activities in the Vietnamese market.

Under the support and direction of the two Governments, the Vietnamese Business Community aims to “triple the total trade to $ 10 billion by 2020 compared to $ 3.2 billion of 2016 “.

It is expected that in 2018, the two nations will sign a protocol on the promotion of customs operations and the implementation of procedures for issuing electronic certificates of origin (C/O).

Ho Chi Minh City will promote the realization of the bilateral cooperation roadmap with the city of Saint Petersburg from 2018 to 2020, in accordance with the minutes of the 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Russian Federation, in order to sign the agreement in early 2018.

To highlight the relationship, leaders of the two countries have agreed to take 2019 as the year of Vietnam in the Russian Federation and the year of the Russian Federation in Vietnam. The Russian Federation is considering a special mechanism for rail freight transportation from Southeast Asia to the Russian Federation. If this mechanism is adopted, it will be very advantageous for Vietnamese enterprises because transporting goods by rail will be faster and more economical than by airway and seaway.

Drawbacks

However, experts also point out that the two parties have not taken full advantage of the possibilities and potentials of the relationship: The young Vietnamese-speaking rate is not high, along with the language barrier between Vietnam and the EEC Member States which have negatively impacted on the market survey and the consumption habits of the inhabitants of the host countries; Information on markets, enterprises, projects is barely sufficient, difficult to access or even not available; Technical barriers to Trade (TBT) indicators and Vietnam’s regulations on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) are not transparent; There is no unified payment mechanism …

To overcome this situation, VCCI representative Vu Tien Loc proposed to use the Ruble and Vietnam as a payment instrument to unify the payment mechanism. The Russian delegation added that it is necessary to improve the competitiveness of Russian enterprises in order to create a market that best serves the interests of consumers; at the same time, they have to work closely with local state agencies to have a more efficient market approach.

The trade promotion program was successfully organized, giving Vietnam and Russia the opportunity to access and seek investment opportunities. Russian companies introduced the breakthrough products to the visitors at the International Industrial Exhibition. The program closes with an official diploma awarding ceremony for the participants.