Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan should push the import-export of products of each side’s strength, in order to tap into the great potential of bilateral trade.

Duong Hoang Minh, Vice Head of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, made the suggestion at a seminar on trade ties between Vietnam and the union, held by the ministry and the European Union Multilateral Trade Assistance Project in Ho Chi Minh City on December 17.

The Vietnamese trade official said as Russia has become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the two sides can make use of the organisation’s rules to expand their market.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and the Customs Union has grown from 1.87 billion USD in 2009 to 2.24 billion USD in 2011. Main imports-exports are seafood, telephones and spare parts, vegetables and fruits, garment and textile, footwear and agricultural products, Minh added.

Discussing trade potential between Vietnam and Russia alone, Golikov Maksim, an official from the Russian Trade Representative Agency in Vietnam , said that the two governments are working to expand cooperation to new areas apart from the traditional ties in oil and mineral exploitation and banking.

At the event, the ministry’s experts gave their assessment on opportunities and challenges when an agreement on a free trade area between Vietnam and the union is put into place.-VNA