Domestic firms reviewed business opportunities with partners in Russia and the European Union (EU) at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on November 28.

At the event, jointly organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in HCM City , the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Russian Trade Representative Office in Vietnam , participants shared market information, trade experiences and business opportunities.

As of September 2012, Russia had poured a registered capital of 919 million USD into 78 projects, making it the 23rd largest investor in Vietnam . Russian investment in mining, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications is growing rapidly.

Vietnamese firms see Russia as an important market for their garment and textiles, agro-forestry-fishery products, oil, steel and machinery exports.

Vietnam-Russia economic and trade ties have not reached their potential, said Nguyen Tan Thanh, Director of the HCM City branch of the VCCI. He added that the two sides should foster cooperation in energy, science and technology, education, training and tourism to lift two-way trade to 7 billion USD in 2015.

Vietnam will focus its attention on negotiations with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union to establish a free trade area in the first quarter of 2013, and wrap up negotiations in two years.

Kardo Sysoev Alexander, an official from the Russian Trade Representative Office in Vietnam , added that his country’s firms are keen to invest in Vietnam’s oil and gas exploration and exploitation, banking and light industry sectors.

The seminar made available EU market updates. The EU is one of Vietnam ’s leading trade partners with annual two-way trade increasing on average by 15 to 20 percent.-VNA