Vietnam and Austria have room to accelerate their bilateral relations, especially in trade and investment, said Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice chairman Doan Duy Khuong on May 29.

During a business conference in Hanoi , Khuong emphasised the great role of businesses in enhancing and speeding up cooperation between the two countries.

Vietnam is making efforts to step up economic reforms, with a focus on facilitating the development of the private sector and perfecting the legal system and market economy mechanism to attract more foreign investment, Khuong said.

"During this process, we welcome and are ready to create the most favourable conditions for foreign investors, including those from Austria ," he said.

Austrian Federal Economic Chamber general director Walter Koren said Austrian companies have paid increasing attention to investing in Vietnam ,

Fifty Austrian companies at the conference expected not only a better insight into Vietnam 's market potential but specifically to learn the advantages of maintaining a presence in the country, he said.

He also encouraged Vietnamese companies to co-operate more actively with Austrian counterparts to unleash untapped potential.

Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Austria Nguyen Thi Thu Huong called on domestic companies to increase their exports to Austria and then utilise its ideal location as a hub for their expansion into other markets in Europe .

However, Huong advised firms to work closely with her office in order to find reliable Austrian trade partners and to avoid possible business risks.

Besides trade, she also outlined industry and energy, infrastructure, tourism and healthcare as promising sectors for businesses.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Austria has experienced significant growth over recent years. It reached 630 million USD in 2011, a year on year increase of 240 percent, and 171 million USD in the first quarter of this year.

Vietnam mainly exports mobile phones and components, footwear and garments to Austria , while importing mainly machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals and steel.

Last year, Austria pumped 51 million USD into 19 projects in Vietnam , ranking 51st among 94 countries and territories investing in the country. Austrian investment was mostly in manufacturing and processing, accommodation and food services, as well as entertainment.-VNA