Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu has made it clear that border gates have become gateways and springboards for neighbouring countries to transport goods to each other, within the region and beyond.

He made the remark at the International Development Partnership Forum on Cross-Border Trade that was held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Asia Development Bank in Hanoi on November 27.

Head of the MoIT’s Department of Border and Mountainous Trade Hoang Minh Tuan said trade between Vietnam and countries sharing the same border has been booming.

Tuan credited this with Vietnam ’s efforts to encourage more firms to sell goods across border areas and perfect customs procedures in accordance with international norms.

However, he also noted that several bilateral trade agreements between Vietnam and neighbouring countries as well as existing regulations on cross-border trade and customs have become out of date, failing to match the present market conditions.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu, his ministry will actively review and negotiate the signing of trade and cross-border trade agreements. It is working with relevant ministries and agencies to perfect draft regulations on cross-border trade to submit to the Prime Minister next month.

The ministry is coordinating with bilateral and multilateral development partners as well as local authorities to turn border areas into transit hubs of goods and services, thus paving a way to sign bilateral free trade agreements with border countries and other relevant deals.

MoIT statistics show that border trade turnover from January to June surged to nearly 11 billion USD from over 4.5 billion USD in 2006. Border trade with China is expected to hit 16 billion USD by 2015, while Vietnam-Laos border trade targets 1.8 billion USD and Vietnam-Cambodia, 4 billion USD.-VNA