More new opportunities will be opened up for Vietnam on economics, trade and investment once the country’s free trade agreements (FTA) with its partners are reached, said Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.

Hoang granted an interview to Vietnam News Agency reporters on the context that Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan concluded their FTA negotiations on December 15.

According to the minister, under the pact, the Customs Unions provides Vietnam with preferential tariffs in order to facilitate the export of the country’s staples such as farm produce, seafood, garments and textiles, footwear and wood furniture.

Meanwhile, Vietnam agrees to open its market under a set roadmap for several commodities from the union, including husbandry products, machines, equipment and vehicles, which will not compete with made-in-Vietnam goods, but help to diversify the domestic market.

The Customs Union, with a combined population of approximately 170 million and total GDP of 2.5 trillion USD, is not a choosy market, while its demand for imports is increasing.

Vietnam is the union’s first FTA partner, which will make Vietnamese businesses integrate into the union earlier than others with more preferential conditions. Once the agreement becomes effective, two-way trade is expected to rise by 18-20 percent a year, from 4 billion USD in 2014 to 10-12 billion USD in 2020, stated the official.

He also expressed his belief that direct investment from the union into Vietnam will also increase thanks to trade liberalisation commitments and a more favourable investment climate, while logistics, financial and banking services and customs cooperation will be liberalised.

Vietnam will also have a good chance to learn from the union’s advanced technologies to serve the country’s industrialisation and modernisation, he added.

He also stated that in the last months of 2014, the country basically finished negotiations on other free trade agreements with the European Union and the Republic of Korea.

According to the ministry, all of the three agreements, expected to be signed by the first half of 2015, cover a wide range of contents, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, rules of origin, trade remedy, customs facilitation, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property, food hygiene, animal and plant quarantine, and legal and institutional issues.-VNA