The conclusion of Vietnam-Norway and Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will create a good chance for Vietnamese and Norwegian businesses to foster bilateral cooperation and establish a trade partnership, heard a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21.

In attendance at the event was Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, who said his visit to Vietnam has opened up opportunities for enterprises from his country to seek partners in the Southeast Asian nation – one of the most potentially lucrative markets in Asia.

Business players from both countries have looked at ways to step up the FTA negotiations between Vietnam and the EU, which are expected to wrap up by the end of 2014 and help bolster bilateral trade ties.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa noted that two-way trade between Vietnam and Norway hit 240 million USD in 2013, which is deemed relatively modest and has yet to match each country’s potential.

She said the Vietnamese Government vows to do its utmost to help Norwegian enterprises to do long-term business in the host country in an environment of equality and mutual benefit.

Vietnam hopes to attract investment in the fields in which Norway has strength such as shipbuilding, oil and gas, energy and seafood, Thoa said.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Manh Ha highlighted the long-standing cooperative ties between the two countries and said Ho Chi Minh City welcomes Norwegian businesspeople and tourists to visit the city.

He pointed to the fact that Norway is running 20 investment projects worth 12.8 million USD in the city, which is often dubbed ‘the economic hub of Vietnam’.

The Crown Prince also witnessed a cooperation signing ceremony between the Animal Health Department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Norway’s Pharmaq company.-VNA