How to promote investment and trade in the Russian market was the main focus of a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on August 29.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in conjunction with the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam and the municipal People’s Committee.

Participants held that Russia , with a population of more than 140 million, is an important market of Vietnam .

According to Tran Chi Tam, former Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor in Russia , the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan , which is scheduled for t he end of this year, will create conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to fully tap the Russian market.

When the FTA is signed, Vietnamese firms will have good opportunities to increase their imports and exports to the market, while easily expanding their investment and production in the country, he added.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the Customs Union’s members is likely to hit 12 billion USD by 2018 once the agreement takes effect, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai.

Tran Ngoc Quan from the European Market Department under the MoIT said that Russian firms are interested in several fields in Vietnam such as oil and gas exploitation, mineral, transport infrastructure construction, remote sensing, and automobile assembling and agriculture.

Vietnamese businesses also plan to develop goods distribution centres and construction material industry in Russia , he noted.

According to the MoIT, by June 2014, Vietnam had invested 2.47 billion USD in 17 projects in Russia while the European nation now runs 101 FDI projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of over 2 billion USD, ranking eighth among foreign investors in the country.-VNA