Bilateral trade between Vietnam and India during the first half of the year hit nearly 2.6 billion USD, up 40.3 percent year-on-year and the highest ever recorded.

Vietnam raked in 1.16 billion USD from exports to India, up 53.7 percent, while its imports from the South Asian nation were over 1.4 billion USD, up 314.1 percent.

In an interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in India Nguyen Son Ha said the two countries have seen strong development in bilateral trade in recent years, becoming a highlight in their strategic partnership.

India is now Vietnam’s tenth largest trade partner, while Vietnam is the South Asian country’s fourth largest partner in ASEAN.

Two-way trade grew to over 3.9 billion USD in 2012. The figure is expected to exceed 5 billion USD this year, and reach the target of 7 billion USD in 2015.

Registered investment capital from Indian companies totals more than 2 billion USD across 73 projects, ranking 12th out of 100 nations and territories investing in Vietnam.

At the 15th India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting in New Delhi on July 11, the two sides agreed to establish a joint sub-commission in trade to promote bilateral trade.

However, Ha noted economic-trade cooperation between Vietnam and India have yet to meet the two countries’ potential.

The good legal framework in economic-trade cooperation together with India’s recognition of Vietnam as a full market economy, and the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIG) will drive the two countries’ trade and economic ties, he said.

In order to boost two-way trade, Ha said Vietnam needs to encourage Indian companies to invest in Vietnam in the fields of their strength, such as oil and gas exploitation, mineral processing, sugar and electricity manufacturing, agro-chemicals and information technology.

He also urged India to offer more incentives to Vietnamese investors, particularly in setting up an electronic industrial cluster.-VNA