Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) –
Trade between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) hit 1.7 billion USD in the first 6 months of 2017, up 21 percent year-on-year, according to statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The figure was reported at a seminar on the EAEU market and opportunities to boost export via the Vietnam – EAEU free trade agreement held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on August 25.

At the function, Hoang Quoc Vuong, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade said the pact, which took effect in October 2016, has enabled Vietnam to access a market of 183 million people and nearly 2.2 trillion USD in GDP.

Currently, about 900 Vietnamese exporters are active in the EAEU market, with key exports including seafood, coffee, rubber, tea, rice, apparel, woodwork products and confectionary.

Kharinov Vyachslav Nikolaevich, Chief Representative of the Russian Trade Office in Vietnam, said from the beginning of 2017, a strong increase has been seen in Vietnam’s import of Russian food, coal, steel, paper products and chemicals, while healthy growth has been recorded for Vietnamese shipments of mobile phone components, apparel and farm produce to Russia.

However, many were not satisfied with the growth.

Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Vice Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, said Vietnam – EAEU trade felt short of potentials, staying at just over 3 billion USD on an annual average.

Trade between Vietnam and EAEU members have recorded unequal growth, he said, citing as an example that HCM City’s firms have mostly worked with Russian partners and are yet to tap business potentials with those from Belarus and Armenia.

In fact, Vietnam – Russia trade makes up 90 percent of total trade revenue between the country and the EAEU, while trade between Vietnam and Belarus and Armenia in 2016 even recorded decreases from 2015.

Nguyen Khanh Ngoc, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European Market Department, attributed the issue to long-time trade partnership between Vietnam and Russia and inadequate understanding of Vietnamese firms about other EAEU markets.

She urged Vietnamese enterprises to study these markets and boost their product quality to maximize trade before the EAEU signs free trade agreement with more nations.-VNA