Vietnam and four central European countries - Czech Republic , Hungary , Poland and Slovakia - have the potential to boost trade and investment cooperation in many sectors, a senior official said at a conference in HCM City on Dec. 6.

Each country has their own advantages, said Nguyen Duc Thuong, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s European Market Department, at the seminar that sought ways to enhance trade and investment ties with Czech Republic , Hungary , Poland and Slovakia.

He said the four countries “have high demands for products that are our strength, including agriculture products, footwear, garment and textile and wooden products.”

Trade between Vietnam and these four countries increased strongly in recent years, with Vietnam enjoying a surplus. However, Thuong urged Vietnamese enterprises to pay more attention to importing mechanical products, machinery and equipment and even some hi-tech products from these countries, saying that the mechanical engineering industry, food industry and high technology industry in these countries are well developed, providing good quality products at competitive prices.

Milan Vagner, Economic Counsellor at the Embassy of Czech Republic in Hanoi , said enterprises from his country could provide Vietnam with advanced technology in environmental treatment, mining, agriculture, packaging, food and beverage, and other sectors.

Lenart Istvan, Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Hungary, said that apart from food items, medicines, and medical devices, Hungary could provide Vietnam with technologies in agriculture and harvesting, milk processing, water management, energy recycling and banking software security systems.

He called on Vietnamese companies to open representative offices or set up joint ventures in Hungary , citing low property prices and competitive labour costs compared to other European countries.

In the last few years, Vietnamese enterprises had shown increasing interest in investing in Hungary, he noted.

More and more Vietnamese banks are interested in the European market, with BIDV and Vietinbank both opening offices in Europe recently.

Wojciech Gerwel, economic counsellor of the Polish Embassy and Jaroslav Jelenik, economic counsellor at the Slovak Embassy also presented their respective strengths of their countries and highlighted areas that have high cooperation potential with Vietnam.

Besides the agriculture, hi-tech and pharmaceutical industries, Poland can offer high-end technology in coal exploitation to Vietnam , since it is the 8th top coal producer in the world, said Wojciech.

Jaroslav said that Slovakia was looking to boost trade and investment ties with Vietnam in machinery, precision engineering, metal processing, electronics, mechanical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as other areas that it is strong in.

With its favourable geographic location, Slovakia can be a gateway for Vietnamese businesses to reach the big population in Europe, he said.

As of November this year, Slovakian firms had invested in five projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of 235.5 million USD; Polish firms had 10 projects with a combined capital of 100 million USD; the Czech Republic had 27 projects with 65.5 million USD; and Hungary had 12 projects worth 47.3 million USD.-VNA