Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung addresses the forum (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A Vietnam-India Business Forum took place in Hanoi on November 19, as part of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind’s State visit to Vietnam.

The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, and the Indian Industries Association.

Addressing the forum, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung stressed that this important forum offers a precious chance for the two business communities to review their cooperation results over the past 46 years, and seek new cooperation opportunities, thus helping boost and deepen the Vietnam-India comprehensive strategic partnership.

Dung said the bilateral relations, founded by late President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and nurtured by generations of leaders and peoples, have developed sustainably.

Political trust has been consolidated constantly through high-level visits and meetings, while economic, trade and investment cooperation has produced impressive results.

India is now one of the ten largest trade partners of Vietnam. Two-way trade has increased year after year to 7.63 billion USD in 2017. The figure hit 8.3 billion USD in the first nine months of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 47.1 percent. The two countries are working towards a goal of 15 billion USD in bilateral trade in the coming time.

In terms of investment, as of late September, India’s total investments in Vietnam were 877 million USD, with 201 projects, making the country to rank 29th out of 129 nations and territories pouring capital into Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnam is currently running eight projects worth 6.16 million USD in India.

To raise two-way trade to 15 billion USD, Dung suggested both sides intensify investment in the fields that India has strength and Vietnam has demand, expand aviation and maritime connectivity, reduce and step and step remove trade barriers, and facilitate import-export activities.

It is essential to boost people-to-people exchange to strengthen mutual understanding and collaboration.

Vietnam hopes Indian investors to expand investment in the Vietnamese market, Dung said, recommending that renewable energy, manufacturing, information technology and infrastructure are the fields that India has strength and Vietnam has demand.

Initiatives like “Make in India”, “Digital India”, and “100 smart cities” and India’s achievements in knowledge economy will create numerous cooperation opportunities for the two countries’ businesses, the Deputy PM stressed.

The Deputy PM held that the two sides should set up dialogue mechanisms among businesses and between the business community and government, thus giving chance for them to share strategy and vision on development cooperation.

Businesses of both sides should become more active in promoting partnership, he said.

He underlined that Vietnam and India should share information and experience in maritime strategy building.

He expressed his belief that the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries will further develop, while calling on business communities of both sides to become pioneers in bilateral cooperation and economic affiliation.

For his part, President Ram Nath Kovind said that Vietnam and India are special friends with similar economic vision and approach.

He congratulated Vietnam on great socio-economic achievements and impressive growth over the past two decades, with the poverty rate falling from 70 percent in the 1990s to under 10 percent currently.

He asserted that the surge in per capita GDP from 100 USD in the 1990s to 2,500 USD today is a considerable attainment that only few developing countries can make.

The Indian leader said that his country is focusing on reforming its economy and opimising the potential of the people. India’s GDP growth has reached 8.2 percent, the highest among big economies in the world. In 2025, the country’s GDP is expected to reach 5 trillion USD, doubling the current figure.

With effective solutions to digital connection, economic reform, population control and favourable environment for startup, India hopes to become the third largest consuming market in the world in 2025, he said, adding that the country has started building new generation infrastructure with 100 smart cities and seven high-speed railway corridors, along with broad-band connections.

Last year, India constructed 10,000km of national highway and reformed its tax system, helping it move 65 spaces to the 77th position in business environment index of the World Bank from the 142nd place in 2014. Its inflation was kept at 3.3 percent, while foreign currency reserve was 400 billion USD.

The Indian President showed his optimism in the partnership prospect between the two countries, holding that businesses of both sides have great chances of cooperation in information technology, digital economy, hydrocarbon, renewable energy, health care, and civil aviation.

India hopes to learn from Vietnam’s experience in urban infrastructure development, tourism, startup and innovation, he said.

Highlighting the significance of agricultural cooperation, he said that agricultural production, processing, medicine, and biotechnology are promising areas for bilateral cooperation.

As the third largest medicine producer in the world, India can help Vietnam improve health care service quality and provide cheaper medicine for people, he said, adding that many Indian medical companies plan to open their production factories in Vietnam.-VNA