Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay an official visit to Vietnam from November 2-4 to further the traditional friendship that both countries share and step up cooperation in a range of fields.

Hasina is visiting at an invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and the two leaders will discuss several issues of mutual concern.

Since both countries first set up diplomatic relations on February 11, 1973, several top-level visits by senior officials have been made.

They include the trips to Bangladesh by Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet in March 1997, State President Tran Duc Luong in March 2004 and Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien in July 2003. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia visited Vietnam in May 2005 and Foreign Minister Morshed Khan in July 2004.

The two countries regularly cooperate at international forums, including the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN.

They signed an agreement to set up a joint committee to discuss economics, trade, culture and science-technology in 1997 and the committee’s second meeting will be held later this year.

However, cooperation between both countries has still failed to match their full potential as well as their leaders’ desires.

To promote cooperation, a number of ministries and agencies from both countries have exchanged delegations and signed agreements.

In recent years, two-way trade between the two countries has kept rising, reaching 280 million USD in 2010, a jump of 241 percent compared to 2009 and 482 million USD in 2011, up 72 percent over 2010.

In the first seven months of this year, bilateral trade reached 186 million USD, with Vietnamese exports accounting for 169.5 million USD.

Vietnamese exports to Bangladesh include rice, cloth, plastic products, rattan, bamboo and sedge products, carpets, rubber, computers, electronics, china and pottery while the country imports pharmaceuticals, garments and fabrics, electronic components and fertiliser from the South Asian country.-VNA