“Scale up Vietnam-EU trade and investment” was the theme of a seminar jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Ho Chi Minh City chapter and the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Vietnam , in HCM City on May 11.

At the event, domestic and foreign businesses were provided with information regarding the EU market and the Vietnam-EU relationship.

Annual two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU increased from 15 percent to 20 percent on average, the seminar said.

Vietnam ’s main exports to the EU include aquatic products, coffee, garments and textiles, footwear and handicrafts, while the EU exports machinery, equipment, medicines, iron and steel to Vietnam .

According to a survey conducted by the European Business Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), a bout 51 percent of EU businesses operating in Vietnam desire to increase their investment in the country and 26 percent of them wish to maintain scheduled investment plans.

Apart from being Vietnam ’s second largest importer, the EU is also the country’s second-largest official development assistance (ODA) provider and a leading non-refundable aid provider, helping Vietnam in hunger elimination and poverty reduction.

The EU is considering a new aid mechanism for Vietnam since 2013 as the country has recently been elevated to middle-income nation status.

At the get-together, EU Minister Counsellor Jean Jacques Bouflet suggested Vietnam and the EU promote negotiations on their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to create favourable condition for exports and imports,

He said although Vietnam’s goods make up 20 percent of the EU’s market share, Vietnamese businesses still meet a lot of difficulties regarding procedures and tax policies when penetrating the market./.