Grigory Trofimchuk, head of the expert council of the Eurasian ideas foundation at the interview (Source: VNA)

Moscow (VNA) – Vietnam and Russia hold great potential for bilateral cooperation based on time-honoured relations, said Grigory Trofimchuk, head of the expert council of the Eurasian ideas foundation.

He made the statement during an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of President Tran Dai Quang’s official visit to Russia from June 28-July 1.

The two countries have elevated their relations to comprehensive strategic partnership, he noted, adding that the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which took effect in last October, has helped accelerate Vietnam - Russia trade and investment ties.

According to Trofimchuk, boosting bilateral trade must be a cooperation priority between the two countries.

The Vietnamese and Russian markets are home to 100 million and 140 million people, respectively, but two-way trade remains at only 3 billion USD. The two countries’ leaders have set a goal of 10 billion USD in bilateral trade by 2020.

The expert said the target is possible with the formation of the Vietnam – EAEU free trade area.

The point is how both nations remove barriers for and facilitate their respective enterprises, he suggested, revealing that the Russian side pays special attention to opportunities and challenges facing Vietnamese and Russian small- and medium-sized firms in accessing each other’s market.

He highlighted President Tran Dai Quang’s visit to Russia as an important political event to strengthen the traditional relations, with expectation that cooperation pacts signed as part of the visit would significantly stimulate Vietnam – Russia partnership.

According to Trofimchuk, his expert council will held a roundtable discussion seeking measures to make the comprehensive strategic partnership more effective.-VNA