Vietnamese and Russian businesses have called for new cooperation agreements to boost bilateral trade, among them, a pact on seafood and agro forestry product quality control.

In a meeting entitled “Expanding trade with Russia” on August 3 in the Mekong delta city of Can Tho, the business communities of both countries agreed that two-way trade between Vietnam and Russia has developed significantly but has not yet matched their potentials.

By 2008, Russia ranked 25 th out of foreign investors in Vietnam with 59 projects and a total registered capital of over 376 million USD. Russian investments mainly focus on the growing and processing of rubber, marine transport, building materials and seafood processing along with oil and gas production.

In the first half of 2009, Russia moved up to the 5 th rank as the biggest foreign investor in the country with two new projects that have nearly 330 million USD in registered capital.

In 2007, Russian consumers bought nearly 1.9 billion USD worth of seafood from Vietnam , whose agricultural products, such as fruit and vegetables, cashew nuts, coffee, tea, pepper, rice and rubber are also Russian favourites.

But, Russian investors told the meeting that at present, their interest has expanded to hotel, resort, urban development and trading centre projects in Vietnam .

In order for Vietnam and Russia to bring their two-way trade to 2 billion USD by 2012, the business communities suggested increased cooperation between the two states when it comes to dealing with the negative impact that new international laws will have on two-way trade.

Vietnamese firms also proposed that the two governments and relevant agencies step up trade promotional activities to increase consumer awareness of Vietnamese brands and set up Vietnamese trade centres in Russia .

They also called on Russia to remove its current ban on seafood imports from Vietnam and requested more technological assistance and investment from Russian counterparts to boost the competitiveness of made-in-Vietnam products in the Russian market./.