A Vietnam-Czech Republic Business Forum that took place in Hanoi on Oct. 12 was an opportunity for the two countries to develop trade and investment ties, a VCCI official said.

Addressing the forum, Vice President of the forum’s co-organiser Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Doan Duy Khuong said two-way trade between Vietnam and the Czech Republic rose from 156 million USD in 2009 to 205 million USD in 2010.

However, bilateral trade growth failed to match the two countries’ potential, advantages and diplomatic ties, Khuong said.

He affirmed that Vietnam will act as a bridge helping businesses of the Czech Republic enter the ASEAN market and the Czech Republic will be a bridge to help Vietnamese businesses enter the European Union (EU) market.

Visiting Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Martin Kocourek said Vietnam has registered impressive growth and the Czech Republic is an open market with potential for growth, so that the two governments need to facilitate the promotion of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Pavel Kafka from the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic said that energy, food industry, construction, petrochemicals, machinery, chemicals, transport and clean water technology, medical equipment are fields that the Czech Republic is interested in.

According to Vietnam ’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa, the Czech Republic now has 21 investment projects in Vietnam with a combined investment capital of 56 million USD focusing on construction and kaolin.

In the meantime, Vietnam only four investment projects in the Czech Republic , with a combined capital of 5.3 million USD focusing on real estate and the construction sector, Thoa said.

Thoa said the ministry will create more favourable conditions in institutions and policies, remove difficulties and create a transparent investment environment for Czech businesses to invest in Vietnam .

A cooperative agreement between Vinacomin Equipment Manufacturing Joint Stock Company and INCO Design Company was signed at the forum.

At a reception given to visiting Minister of Industry and Trade Kocourek on Oct. 12, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said Vietnam needs more assistance from the Czech Republic in technology and experts in fields that are strengths of the Czech Republic , such as mechanical engineering and industry.

Minister Kocourek, who is accompanied by more than 50 businesspeople, affirmed that the Czech Republic is willing to support and cooperate with Vietnam and will continue to provide official development assistance (ODA)./.