Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru (centre, left) at a meeting with senior officials of Mali to discuss ways to boost the Vietnam-Mali economic-trade ties. (Photo: VNA)

Algier​s (VNA) – Vietnam and Mali have agreed on a number of measures to beef up bilateral cooperation in economics and trade during recent meetings between Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quoc Tru and senior Malian officials in Bamako.

Pham Quoc Tru, who is Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria and Mali, met with the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Trade and Competition, the Minister of Industrial Development, the Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chairman of Permanent Assembly of the Chambers of Agriculture from Mali.

During their meetings as part Tru’s trip to Mali to present his letter of credentials to Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from March 23-29, the two sides showed confidence in bright prospects of bilateral economic-trade relations and discussed ways to accelerate the ties in the coming time, he told Vietnam News Agency.

The two nations agreed to take more drastic steps to boost their economic-trade ties in the coming years, according to the ambassador. They plan to sign a series of pacts to improve legal framework for the enhanced cooperation, including a memorandum of understanding on trade and industry, agreements on investment promotion and protection, and double taxation avoidance, and a cooperation document between their Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he added.

They also agreed to soon hold the first meeting of the Vietnam-Mali Inter-Governmental Committee set up in 1994 and increase the exchange of visits at all levels, especially visits by businesses to trade fairs of each country such as the 28th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo) in April and Mali international industry fair the same month, he said.

Both sides will facilitate exports of fabrics, clothing, seafood, chemicals, rice, pepper, coffee, and agricultural mechanic products to Mali and imports of cotton, gold and cattle from Mali.

According to statistics by the Vietnam Customs, Vietnam’s exports to Mali were valued at 30.2 million USD, including 26.6 million USD worth of crude oil, while imports from the African country reached 42.4 million USD, of which cotton accounted for 42.3 million USD.

During 2005-2009, Vietnam sent 12 agricultural experts and technicians to work in Mali under a quadripartite agreement on the sustainable development programme for Yelimane region, which involved Vietnam, Mali, France and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The project was highly appreciated by the Malian President, Tru said.

However, it was suspended in March 2012 due to political unrest in Mali. The two sides are considering the possibility to resume the programme, he added.

Vietnam and Mali established diplomatic relations in October 10, 1960, just a month after Mali declared its independence. In 1962, Vietnam opened its embassy in Mali, which was one of two first embassies in Africa.-VNA