Over 200 Vietnamese and South African businesses attended the Vietnam-South Africa Business Forum on agro-forestry and fisheries, held in the South African city of Johannesburg on July 18.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ho Xuan Hung, said that Vietnam’s agro-forestry, fisheries exports continued rising over the past time, manifested by its total export turnover amounting to over 16 billion USD in the first half of this year, and aquatic products being exported to 160 countries and territories worldwide.

Hung also described South Africa as a potential market and the top gateway for Vietnam’s commodities to penetrate into the African market.

Last year, bilateral trade between the two countries reached almost 650 million USD, representing a year-on-year rise of 26.7 percent and a three-fold increase over 2005. In the first half of this year, Vietnam earned over 750 million USD from its exports to South Africa, he said.

Mayathula Khoza, Head of the Gauteng provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department said that Vietnam’s transformation from a food-insufficient country into the world’s second largest rice exporter in only a short time is an invaluable lesson for agricultural development of Gauteng province in particular and South Africa in general.

She said she hoped the two countries’ localities would further promote economic and trade ties as well as exchange experience in production and trading, especially in the field of agricultural development.

At the event, representatives of businesses introduced their strength and cooperation opportunities, especially in agro-forestry, fisheries and signed many trading contracts./.