Policymakers and businesses from at least 27 South American countries are expected to attend the first ministerial level Vietnam-South America forum on trade and investment, scheduled in Hanoi between July 5-6.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, ministers, cities' leaders, and CEOs are scheduled to attend. The forum will focus on ways to increase ties between Vietnam and South America , especially in areas of trade, economics, commerce, telecommunications, transportation, agriculture and energy.

With GDP totaling more than 5500 billion USD and a population of 580 million, the region presents great investment opportunities for Vietnamese companies, said Le Cong Tien, deputy head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry's Department for South America .

"Many of our top corporations are already implementing major projects in South American countries especially in oil and gas as well as telecommunications," he said. "So this forum will allow both policymakers and businesses from both sides to explore further opportunities."

Trade turnover between Vietnam and South America totaled 4.5 billion USD in 2011, nearly 15 times higher than the $300 million in 2000.-VNA