A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on trade and industry cooperation between Vietnam and Guinea-Bissau was signed in a ceremony in Hanoi on January 6.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said the two countries signed a agreement on culture, economics, science-technology and trade cooperation in 1994. However, trade ties between the two sides have not been on a par with their potential.

Vietnam usually suffers from a trade deficit in trade ties with Guinea-Bissau, importing cashew and scrap steel, while selling mainly rice and cement to this market.

In the first nine months of 2013, two-way trade between both countries saw positive growth with Vietnam’s exports reaching eight million USD, double that of 2012.

Guinea-Bissau Secretary of State for Trade Ibraima Djalo said the geographical distance between the two countries and the shortage of information on either market or possible partnerships is the reason behind the inadequate trade exchange and industry cooperation between them.

He underlined the significance of the signed MoU, saying that it will serve as an important legal base to promote cooperation in trade and industry in particular and the two countries’ bilateral relations in general.

At their talks earlier, the two officials discussed measures to further step up economic and trade ties between their countries.

The talks focused on how to better the legal framework and create favourable conditions for both sides’ enterprises to operate in the two countries.

They also said Vietnam and Guinea-Bissau should both provide information on business and investment opportunities and fairs and exhibitions as well as the list of prestigious importers, while speeding up trade activities in the cooperation framework of Francophone countries in the Mekong basin and countries in Central and West Africa.-VNA