Vietnam continues to enjoy trade surplus with Israel hinh anh 1Seafood is among Vietnam's key items exported to Israel. (Photo: VNA)

Tel Aviv (VNA) – The two-way trade between Vietnam and Israel was estimated at 760 million USD in the first three quarters of this year with Vietnam continuing to enjoy a trade surplus of 440 million USD, according to a Vietnamese official.

During the period, Vietnam’s exports to Israel exceeded 600 million USD while imports totalled around 160 million USD, said Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Israel Le Thai Hoa.

The two countries’ bilateral trade stood at 677 million USD in the first eight months of the year, a slight decrease from a year earlier. The dip was largely owing to political uncertainty and security tension in Israel which have sparked concerns among Vietnamese exporters, plus the Middle East country has set tighter food safety requirements, Hoa said.

Vietnam’s imports from Israel also plunged because of significant declines in imports of computers and electronic parts, machinery and tools, and fertilisers, he added.

Vietnam’s exports to Israel are forecast to amount over 800 million USD in 2019 while imports will be worth about 250 million USD.

The trade structures of Vietnam and Israel are basically complementary as their export items do not directly compete each other, according to the trade counsellor. He noted that the goods Israel import are also Vietnam’s key export items.

More and more Israeli firms have shown interest in directly importing food and foodstuff, such as cashew nut, seafood, beverage, textile and garment, footwear, consumer goods, processed and dried fruits, from Vietnam.

Notably, Vietnam’s footwear shipments to Israel rose by 27.3 percent during January – August. Vietnamese fragrant rice and frozen shrimp continued to maintain a strong foothold in the Israeli market, Hoa noted.

In 2018, the bilateral trade surpassed 1.2 billion USD last year as many of Vietnam’s staples gained footholds in the Israeli market.

A bilateral free trade agreement is under negotiation and is expected to be inked shortly, in hope of lifting two-way trade to 3 billion USD.

Israel is currently among Vietnam’s top partners in the Middle East in terms of economic and science-technology cooperation./.