While Germany is already the most important market in the European Union for Vietnamese exports, there's still huge potential for further increasing exports to Germany, said Do Thang Hai, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)'s Trade Promotion Department.

Statistics from the ministry showed that last year export turnover to Germany reached 3.35 billion USD, 41 percent higher than 2010.

However, Hai said Vietnamese goods have not fully exploited their potential in the market despite seeing continuous growth in exports to Germany .

He said Vietnamese exports to Germany mainly included shoes, garments and textiles, coffee beans, wooden furniture, seafood and leather goods, while Vietnam imported machinery, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and chemicals from Germany.

Figures from the HCM City Trade Promotion and Investment Centre showed that Germany accounted for 19 percent of Vietnamese exports to the EU last year, and was Vietnam 's biggest trade partner in the area.

Accordingly, Vietnam ranked 49th out of 147 countries that exported to Germany, 55th out of 144 countries to import German products and 47th out of 144 trade partners based on bilateral trade turnover.

Thomas Hundt, head of the German Trade and Investment Organisation in Vietnam , said businesses should pay more attention to ensuring goods exported to the EU meet a raft of standards.

He said regulations on goods exported to Germany have been tightened to ensure quality, hygiene and corporate social responsibilities.

MoIT plans to organise more trade delegations to Germany to promote Vietnamese firms, while Vietnamese company VietHaus (SASCO) has built a commercial centre in Germany that will support Vietnamese firms doing business in Germany .

SASCO's deputy director Doan Thi Mai Huong said VietHaus willlp enterprises to expand their businesses in the German market with the minimum of cost.

"The centre, which is scheduled to become operational in June, will showcase Vietnamese goods and provide information on German consumer habits," Huong said.

She said some Vietnamese goods including beer and coffee along with tourism services, have already been promoted at the centre.

"We will organise activities to introduce Vietnamese coffee next month on the occasion of the biggest fair in Berlin ," she said.

The ministry in co-operation with Metro Cash&Carry Group and the Vietnam Trade Counselor will organise Vietnamese Week in Germany from June 6-16 to introduce famous Vietnamese brandnames which meet EU standards, including pomelo fruit, Hoa Loc mangoes, Tien Giang papayas, shrimp, basa fish and Trung Nguyen coffee.

Germany has 161 projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of 824 million USD, ranking 22 out of 91 countries and territories investing here.

In HCM City alone, there are 61 German-invested projects with total investment of 345 million USD.

Vietnam has 10 projects in Germany with total registered capital of 25 million USD. /.