Kolkata - Pointing out that trade between India and Vietnam is languishing at around 1% of the total trade done by both countries, the Vietnamese envoy to India on Wednesday said their strong bilateral relationship should be used as a foundation for greater economic cooperation.
He also urged both the countries to make a better use of the 'ASEAN India Free Trade Agreement', of which Vietnam is a member.
"The trade between Vietnam and India is growing but it is not up to the potential. Last year the trade amount between the two countries was $7.6 bn which is very little compared to our total trade. The amount is just more than one percent of Vietnam's total trade. For India it is less than one percent," Vietnamese Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh said here.
"Both Vietnam and India are developing very fast... India's GDP growth last year was 7% while we had 6.8%, which is the highest growth rate in a decade. Also Vietnam and India have very good bilateral relation that comes from a 2000-year-old tradition.
"Now we have been upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership since Prime Minister Modi's visit to Vietnam. There has been a lot of high level visits between the two countries since then.So this good political relationship would be a good foundation for greater economic cooperation," he pointed out.
The Ambassador also urged both the countries to make a better use of the 'ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement'.
"Between Vietnam and India, we do not have any bilateral financial agreement but between ASEAN countries and India, we have a free trade agreement already. We have to make use of the agreement between India and ASEAN, of which Vietnam is a member.
"I think we should have more promotional activities, more exploration of markets. By visiting you can see what you can buy or sell in Vietnam," he said.
Stating that Vietnam is "very open" to foreign investments and currently more than 25,000 projects from foreign investors are running there, Thnah said the investment of $1 billion from Indian companies last year is still a small amount and invited more Indian investors to Vietnam.
"Last year we received 13 million foreign tourists. The same number as India. So there are a lot of opportunities of business in terms of trade investment and tourism. We have very liberal trade regulations that interest a lot of foreign investors," he said.