Vietnam and Pakistan have enjoyed a rapid growth in two-way trade in recent years, reaching 400 million USD in 2012 from only 27 million USD in 2000.

The figure in the first seven months of this year was 178.6 million USD, according to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

At present, the balance of trade is leaning toward Pakistan as Vietnam has to import materials from this country such as cotton, fibre, leather, pharmaceuticals, animal feed and marble.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has a great demand for consumption goods like tea, pepper, rubber, tires, computers, electricity generators, electronic products, woodwork and footwear. Pakistani importers have started to pay their attention to Vietnam’s seafood market.

According to Nguyen The Hung, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnamese and Pakistani businesses are studying each other’s markets to expand investment and business operations in the fields of industrial production, agricultural processing, information technology and software.

The two nations can also boost cooperation in pharmaceuticals, he said, citing that last year Vietnam imported 3.5 billion USD worth of pharmaceuticals and materials for this sector.

Pakistan is one of the major pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical materials providers for Vietnam with an annual turnover of 11.2 million USD, he added.

Statistics show that Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector saw its average growth jump from 13.5 percent in the 2008-2011 period to 25 percent in 2012 with revenues of 2 billion USD.

At a recent working session between 20 Pakistani pharmaceutical businesses and their Vietnamese counterparts in Ho Chi Minh City, Riaz Ahmed, head of the delegation, said that Vietnam is one of the main importers of medicine from Pakistan, a 190 million-strong market.

Vietnam and Pakistan target two-way trade of 500 million USD in 2013, according to Pakistani Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Aizaz Khan, adding that over the past time the two countries have signed a number of trade agreements while both sides’ enterprises have carried out numerous business promotion activities.

In order to create favourable conditions for the businesses, Pakistan has worked with Vietnam’s aviation sector on the opening of a direct air route from Hanoi to Pakistan, he said.

The central bank of Pakistan has decided to allow its commercial banks to establish branches in Vietnam, he added.-VNA