Bilateral trade between Vietnam and South Africa is on an upward trend with an estimated turnover of 962 million USD in 2014, up 5 percent from a year ago.

Of the figure, Vietnam’s exports to South Africa reached 815 million USD and imports were 147 million USD, said Vietnam Trade Counselor Nguyen Hong Tien.

Two-way trade between the two countries experienced remarkable features, Tien said, adding that coffee and footwear were up 71 percent and 7 percent, accounting for 18 percent and 12.5 percent of the market shares, respectively.

Meanwhile, the import of scrap steel from South Africa saw a 38 percent decrease due to Vietnam’s sluggish property market.

Tien said the economic development forecast for both countries in 2015 is positive. The Vietnamese Government has set a goal for a GDP growth rate of 6.2 percent against the last year’s figure of 5.98 percent. South Africa has predicted a growth rate of 2.6 percent, nearly doubling 2013’s figure.

According to the Vietnamese official, the Vietnamese Government’s attention to enhancing ties with Africa, including South Africa, and the acceleration of diplomatic and trade promotion activities in 2015 will create favourable conditions for boosting bilateral trade between the two countries.

However, he pointed out a number of difficulties in payment and transportation between the two countries, hindering trade.

Furthermore, Vietnamese enterprises have not paid sufficient attention to promising markets in Africa, including South Africa, such as making fact-finding tours or joining fairs and exhibitions.

According to the Trade Office at the Vietnamese Embassy to South Africa cum Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, last year two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and the African countries reached 92.9 million USD, 34.7 million USD, 26.4 million USD, 21.1 million USD, 14.7 million USD, and 12.3 million USD, respectively.

Cooperative prospects between Vietnam and the countries are huge as they are in high demand for importing Vietnam’s key export products, especially rice, Tien said.

South Africa will act as a gateway for improved relations with other African countries, he added.-VNA