Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) meets with Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed in Hanoi on September 13. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Bangladesh should make stronger efforts to translate potential into sound cooperation in economics, trade and investment, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed during their meeting in Hanoi on September 13.

Phuc welcomed Ahmed to Vietnam for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) and lauded the long-standing friendship between the two countries, which has been growing.

Vietnam and Bangladesh share many similarities and have all necessary conditions to enhance trade, he said, adding that the two sides need to discuss measures to step up cooperation.

Ahmed, for his part, appreciated Vietnam as a good friend of Bangladesh. He said he is impressed with what Vietnam has achieved in multiple areas and suggested the two nations cooperate more in textile and garments.

Vietnam is Bangladesh’s large trade partner, so the South Asian country wants to raise annual bilateral trade to 2 billion USD, according to the commerce minister.

Furthermore, the business climate in Bangladesh has improved remarkably in recent years, creating a good opportunity for investors from Vietnam, he noted, saying he also hopes bilateral ties in economics, trade and investment will progress in the coming years.

Noting his guest’s proposal, PM Phuc agreed two-way trade has failed to meet the two countries’ potential so they must make greater efforts to reach 2 billion USD in trade revenue. He suggested both nations provide broader market access to each other’s key export products and ramp up business-to-business meetings.

The PM added that Vietnam wants to invest in Bangladesh in agriculture, forestry, fishery, textile and garments, and industry and expects the government of Bangladesh to facilitate Vietnamese enterprises in the country.         

Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) show that two-way trade soared from 14 million USD in 2002 to 388.1 million USD in 2012 and more than 900 million USD in 2017. Vietnam has repeatedly recorded a trade surplus with the South Asian country.

Vietnam ships clinker, cement, rice, fibre, mobile phones, and components to Bangladesh, while importing pharmaceutical products, seafood, and tobacco materials from the country.

By the end of December 2017, Bangladesh had invested in four projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of 615,000 USD, ranking 99th out of 125 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam poured 27,900 USD into a project in Bangladesh, making it 68th position of the 72 countries and territories where Vietnam has invested in. –VNA