The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) signed a cooperative agreement in Hanoi on October 30.

The agreement is expected to create improved conditions for enterprises from both countries, especially small- and medium-sized ones, to exchange information and look for partners and business opportunities.

Also on the same day, TOBB and the VCCI launched the Vietnam-Turkey Businesses Council and held a discussion between the businesses of both countries.

Speaking at the talks, TOBB’s President Rifat Hisarklioglu said that Vietnam plays an important role in Turkey’s strategy to boost its economic relations with the Asia-Pacific region and the country is ready to cooperate with Vietnam to develop bilateral ties.

Vietnam, with its great potential for development, especially its young labour force, will be the next “tiger” in the Asian region, he said.

However, he recommended that Vietnamese and Turkish businesses put forward initiatives and hold meetings and exchanges to seek out partners and business opportunities in each other’s country.

VCCI President Vu Tien Loc said that Turkey is a promising market for the Vietnamese business community as it is the sixth largest economy in Europe and the 15 th in the world. “With its role as a gateway to Middle Eastern markets and other countries, Turkey could be a large export market for Vietnamese goods,” Loc added.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), two-way trade between Vietnam and Turkey has continuously increased over the past few years with over 439 million USD in 2008, up 80 percent against the previous year. The figure was 251 million US in the first nine months of this year with Vietnam earning 187 million USD.

Vietnam mainly exports garments, electronic products, wood and wooden products, tea and pepper to Turkey and imports steel ingots, construction materials, auto parts and chemicals.

In the first ten months of this year, Turkey had eight projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of nearly 70 million USD, ranking 40 th among the 89 countries and territories currently investing in Vietnam.

To create a legal foundation and favourable mechanisms for the two countries’ businesses to expand cooperation in the future, Ly Quoc Hung, Head of the MoIT’s African-Southwest Asian Market Department, said that both parties should complete negotiations on the Agreements on Investment Encouragement and Protection and Double Taxation as soon as possible as well as negotiate an agreement on maritime transport and cooperative agreements in the customs sector./.