Vietnam and India have great potential for cooperation in many areas like energy, technology, pharmaceutical, health care, agriculture, and infrastructure, a business forum heard in HCM City on Mar. 7.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Indian consulate, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the VIetnam-India Business Forum with visiting executives from nearly 20 Indian companies taking part.

Indian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma said Indian companies want to be active participants in these sectors in Vietnam since they have experience and technological capability, and are willing to share their experiences and transfer technology.

He said the two sides should give top priority to cooperation in three important sectors — energy, food, and healthcare.

In the energy sector, for instance, fossil fuels would run out one day and so countries need to develop renewable energies, he said.

India has experience in this sector while Vietnam has great potential in wind energy, he said. Besides, Indian companies are looking at Vietnam as an entry point to the entire region, he added.

Vo Tan Thanh, director of the HCM City chapter of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said trade between the two countries had surged from 72 million USD in 1995 to 3.9 billion USD last year.

Vietnam exports coal, pepper, rubber, electrical products, and footwear to India , and imports animal feed, steel, iron, plastic products, drugs, and accessories and machinery for the garment and textile industries.

Le Phuoc Vu, chairman of steel company Hoa Sen Group, said to boost investment between the two countries, it is necessary to keep potential investors informed about policies and specific opportunities.

Indian companies with a presence in Vietnam , like KCP Ltd, shared their business experiences here with their counterparts.

The forum saw Nguyen Thanh Xuan, deputy director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, provide an overview of the potential and opportunities for business and investment in HCM City.-VNA