The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Dec. 7 hosted a seminar on economic and trade relations between Vietnam and Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

Addressing the event, Le Thai Hoa, Deputy Head of the Department of African, Western and Southern Asian Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that since 2006, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia have signed many cooperative framework agreements on economics, agriculture, animal husbandry and aquaculture, as well as tax avoidance, energy security, investment and labour agreements.

Hoa added that Vietnam has established of diplomatic ties with all Middle East countries, which hold potentials of trade, labour, oil and gas, science-technology and tourism. This will serve as a foundation for Vietnam to boost economic and trade cooperation with the region.

Vietnam has to date exported aquatic products, textiles, fiber, footwear, steel products, timber and wooden furniture, computers and electronic spare parts, mobile phones, rubber, handicrafts, farm produce and machinery to Arab Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries while imported liquefied gas, chemicals, fertilisers, cattle feed and raw materials from these countries.

However, Vietnamese businesses still face with challenges in this market such as bureaucratic administrative regulations, entry visa, unstable political and security situation and lack of market information, Hoa said.

Experts provided the participants with an insight into the culture, and communication and business styles in the Middle East. They also presented guidelines to get Halal certificate for products which is essential for businesses to enter Islamic markets.

Vietnam now has Halal certification agencies in both Hanoi and HCM City./.