HCM City (VNA) – More than 40 enterprises from Hong Kong (China) and hundreds of Vietnamese firms gathered at an event in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21 to seek opportunities to expand partnership.

Addressing the event, Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of Hong Kong, who led the Hong Kong business delegation, said that the visit of the firms to Vietnam aims to foster connections with Vietnamese peers and find solutions to lift up the partnership.

Participants focused on cooperation opportunities in production and investment, as well as finance-banking, infrastructure, legal and arbitration issues, thus exploiting the newly-signed free trade agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN.

According to the Hong Kong side, Hong Kong was the ninth largest trade partner and fifth biggest importer of Vietnam with two-way trade reaching 18 billion USD in 2016.

In the past five years, trade partnership has seen double-digit growth. Hong Kong was one of the first foreign investors in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is among 25 most attractive destinations of Hong Kong businesses. Total Hong Kong’s FDI to Vietnam has hit 1.6 billion USD.

The trade and investment cooperation between the two sides has yet to match potential of the two sides, stated Yau.

Meanwhile, Margaret Fong, head of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said that Vietnam has shown impressive growth over decades. Trade ties between Vietnam and Hong Kong rose 43 percent over the past years, she said, holding that there is room for both sides to further expand the partnership.

She revealed that in this September, Hong Kong will organise a festival and exhibition event with the participation of over 100 life-style brands to introduce to Vietnamese customers about fashion, entertainment and foods of Hong Kong.

Leading experts in logistics, e-commerce from Hong Kong will share the way to broaden market for Vietnam’s services and products, she said, adding that the events will not only open up new business opportunities but also strengthen mutual understanding between the two sides.-VNA