Saint Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko and President Truong Tan Sang (Photo: VNA)

Ho Chi Minh City (VNA) – Businesses from Ho Chi Minh City and Russia’s Saint Petersburg have been urged to take the lead in seizing opportunities opened up by a range of free trade agreements that both Russia and Vietnam are members.

At a business forum held in HCM City on December 8, Saint Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said he hopes the two cities will lead the way in expanding bilateral business partnerships and localities' connections.

Director of HCM City’s Industry and Trade Department Le Van Khoa said Vietnam-Russia commercial ties have fallen short of their potentials.

At the forum, representatives from the Russian city informed that Saint Petersburg hopes to attract foreign investment in industry, tourism, pharmaceuticals and food.

Vietnam and Russia have implemented their strategic partnership for more than ten years and comprehensive strategic partnership for three years.

Two-way trade hit 2.55 billion USD last year and 1.4 billion USD in January-August. Vietnam has invested 2.4 billion USD in 18 projects in Russia.

Vietnam and the Eurasia Economic Union, of which Russia is a member, signed a free trade agreement in May.

In the past eleven months, trade between Ho Chi Minh City and Russia generated 226.24 million USD. Russia is currently operating 21 projects valued at 32.45 million USD in the southern city.-VNA