A business forum took place in Berlin, Germany, on June 25 to look at prospects of the cooperation between Vietnam and Germany as well as of the European Union (EU) – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Opening the function, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said bilateral relations have been flourishing, especially since the establishment of their strategic partnership in 2011.

From 2000 to 2013, two-way trade turnover jumped by 7.5 times to 7.7 billion USD and stood at 2.34 billion USD in the first four months of 2014.

Germany is currently the largest European trade partner of Vietnam, accounting for 20 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s total exports to Europe, he noted.

In addition, there were nearly 230 German projects in Vietnam with a registered capital of 1.246 billion USD as of the end of May.

There are a lot of good opportunities for the two countries to expand their cooperation, particularly when Vietnam and EU are working hard to soon conclude EVFTA negotiations in 2014, the minister stressed.

During the forum, participants scrutinised opportunities as well as challenges of investment cooperation and sought ways to boost trade ties.

They said the EVFTA will have major impacts once it takes effect since apart from benefits, the agreement will also require Vietnamese enterprises to ensure their goods meeting EU’s strict regulations.

The Vietnamese side asked German businesses to consider cooperation in the supply of material sources and supporting industries to help Vietnam ease its dependence on imported materials.

At the event, Vietnamese officials answered queries about policies on German firms in Vietnam.

Earlier, Minister Hoang had a working session with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

They discussed measures to strengthen bilateral partnership in economics, trade and investment, speed up the progress of EVFTA negotiations, and prepare for the Asia – Pacific Conference of German Business in Ho Chi Minh City this November.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel affirmed that his country supports the conclusion of EVFTA negotiations this year.-VNA