Despite the geographical divide, the desire to accelerate bilateral relations had brought Vietnam and Ukraine closer, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told a business conference in Hanoi on November 15.

During the event that involved the participation of 40 Ukrainian companies, PM Azarov said he believed that two-way trade was yet to the match potentials of the two countries, and was likely to significantly increase in the future.

Besides trade, he also outlined industry, aircraft manufacturing, energy, shipbuilding, pharmaceutical and machinery as other promising sectors for bilateral cooperation.

" This is the right time for Ukrainian enterprises to make further investments in Vietnam as the country is on the way to restructuring its economy which will result in many new opportunities with Vietnamese counterparts," said Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Vu Tien Loc.

Loc suggested the two governments consider negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and Ukraine while encouraging airlines to open direct flights connecting the two countries.

More favourable conditions should also be created in the near future in order to facilitate the exports of Vietnamese agricultural products to the Ukrainian market, Loc said.

Bilateral ties between the two countries had developed significantly due to frequent trips made by high-level leaders and increasing efforts to speed up trade and investment promotion activities in each country, said Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.

"However, there is a room for us to further promote our relations," Hoang said, calling for enterprises to foster trade and investment promotion and pay more attention to marketing their products.

During the event, Ukrainian enterprises expressed their wishes to cooperate with Vietnamese partners in the machinery, pharmaceutical, textile and garment, IT, finance and tourism sectors.

Two-way trade reached approximately 300 million USD in 2011, up 17 percent year-on-year. Trade hit 198 million USD in the first nine months of 2012, surging 15 percent against the same period last year. Of the sum, 153 million USD came from Vietnamese exports, mainly seafood, agricultural products, handicrafts, wooden furniture, garments and footwear.

Ukrainian businesses have to date pumped 30 million USD into Vietnam while Vietnamese firms have invested 27 million USD in Ukraine . /.VNA