There is ample room for Vietnam to expand trade and business links with countries in the Mercosur bloc, according to participants at a conference on business opportunities with countries in the sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The conference was held in Hanoi by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Mercosur-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce (MACC) to boost economic cooperation between the Vietnamese business community and businesses from countries in the Mercosur bloc as well as the bloc’s associate countries.

Addressing the conference, Pham Thi Thu Hang, General Secretary of the VCCI, underlined that Vietnam and Latin American countries have a strong opportunity to develop economic relations because their economic structures are highly complementary.

Trade volume between Vietnam and 33 Latin American countries in 2014 reached 9.5 billion USD, up 40.7 percent from 2013, the highest level thus far.

Brazil makes up for 3.3 billion USD, followed by Argentina with 1.9 billion USD and Chile with 890 million USD.

Vietnam mainly exported footwear, garments and textiles, electronics products, refrigeration appliances, rubber, electric motors, optic devices, rice, coffee and coal.

Latin America has become an increasingly important source of materials for Vietnam’s production of footwear, steel, plastics, animal food and soybean and cotton.

According to President of the MACC Rodolfo Caffaro Kramer, despite encouraging achievements, the trade between Vietnam and the Mercosur bloc is still below potential.

Besides traditional partners such as Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, trade links between Vietnam with other Latin American countries continues to be limited, he said.-VNA