There is great potential for co-operation in many sectors including agriculture produce processing and garment and textiles between Vietnam and Burkina Faso, delegates said at a business forum in Ho Chi Minh City on November 6.

Attending the forum were government officials, representatives of many local firms and a delegation of 15 Burkina Faso enterprises seeking business opportunities in Vietnam.

Do Huu Huy, deputy head of the Africa and Southwest Asia Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that since establishing diplomatic ties in 1973, the two countries had signed co-operation agreements in various sectors.

However, bilateral trade remains modest compared to the potential, and accounts for a very small part of the total trade turnover of 2 billion USD a year between Vietnam and African countries, he said.

He said bilateral trade turnover reached 18.3 million USD last year and 13.5 million USD in the first half of the year, with Burkina Faso enjoying a trade surplus. In the first haft of the year, Vietnam spent 9.7 million USD on importing goods, mainly cotton and cashew, from Burkina Faso.

Zourougi Gnessa Bernard, Deputy Minister of Industry, Commerce and Artisans of Burkina Faso, also noted that the African nation exports raw cashew nut and cotton to Vietnam and imports agricultural produce, plastic, pharmaceutical products, garment and textiles, footwear and goods from the country.

Another ministry official, Sibiri Sanou, said Burkina Faso has drawn out a plan to industrialise its production sector to add more value to export products. Other areas with investment potential for Vietnamese firms include processing of sesame, cashew nuts and fruit and vegetables; as well as gold and manganese mining, he said.

The two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding on trade and industry cooperation in an effort to boost bilateral trade ties. Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Duong Quang and Deputy Minister of Industry, Commerce and Artisans of Burkina Faso Zourougi Gnessa Bernard signed the MoU in Hanoi on November 4.

During their talks, both sides discussed strengthening trade relations by finalising regulatory frameworks, signing cooperative economic, trade and industry agreements, creating the conditions necessary for their businesses to prosper, and expanding visit exchanges in the interests of advancing mutual understanding.

Authorities of both countries should keep each other up to date regarding business and investment opportunities, international exhibitions and fairs, and reputable import-export companies. The Mekong River Sub-Region’s Francophone framework can be used to foster trade exchanges with West and Central Africa and expand cooperation in investment and telecommunication services.-VNA