Spanish companies are continuing the trend of increasing investment for production development in Vietnam instead of exporting goods to the 86 million-strong market.

Spanish businesses are seeking to build plants or production facilities in Vietnam in order to take advantage of low production costs, a plentiful workforce and to expand their presence in Asia, Alberto Cerdan, Spanish economic and commercial counsellor in HCM City said in an interview with Dau tu (Investment Review) newspaper issued on Nov. 22.

According to the official, they also want to turn Vietnam into a goods consumption market.

In this way, the Spanish companies expect to have a stronger position in Vietnam and penetrate Southeast Asia’s third-largest market, he said.

Apart from footwear, apparel and the seafood sectors, Spanish firms are interested in logistics, production of tiles, house utensils, food flavourings, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

They also see more opportunities from infrastructure development projects in Vietnam, he said.

In 2010, the Spanish government pledged to provide 500 million EUR to the construction of metro route No.5 in HCM City and the Spanish bank BBVT has agreed to provide an additional loan of 100 million EUR.

Through the project, Spain wants to help Vietnam build a modern transport infrastructure network and expects to lure investment from Spanish enterprises, he added.

In addition, Spanish companies have pledged to inject money in the Ke Ga port in the central province of Binh Thuan and the container port in the Hiep Phuoc urban area, HCM City.

To assist Spanish businesses to translate their goals into reality in Vietnam, a Vietnam-Spain Investment and Business Cooperation Forum will be held in HCM City from November 23-24, with the participation of 24 Spanish companies.

The companies are involved in architecture and urban consultancy, agriculture, automotive components, electronic systems, energy and construction, as well as engineering, fashion retail, metallurgy, footwear, technological services, textiles and water treatment.

Spain has to date invested 25 million USD in 12 projects in Vietnam.

Total bilateral trade between the countries reached 1.4 billion USD last year, a fall of 17 percent compared with 2008 due to the global financial crisis.

Vietnam's exports to Spain totalled 1.275 billion USD while its imports reached 159 million USD.

In the first seven months of this year, bilateral trade reached 650 million USD, a 6 percent increase from last year.

The main exports from Vietnam to Spain are shoes, garments, coffee, seafood, aquaculture products and furniture.

Spain’s exports to Vietnam include chemical and pharmaceutical products, steel, electrical machinery, machine tools, leather and tiles./.