Hanoi (VNA) – Partnerships in economics, trade and investment between Vietnam and Myanmar have yet to meet expectations, participants said at a discussion on bilateral ties in Hanoi on August 25.

Among those attending the function were representatives of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association, the Myanmar Embassy to Vietnam, and the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations.

Nguyen Trong Kien, deputy head of the Party commission’s department for cultural diplomacy, said the two countries set up diplomatic relations in 1947 and upgraded their ties from the Consul General level to the Ambassadorial level in May 1975.

Since then, they have regularly organised diplomatic activities to consolidate their amity. They have also continually coordinated and supported each other at multilateral forums, he noted, elaborating that while Vietnam advocated Myanmar joining in ASEAN and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Myanmar supported Vietnam’s participation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the candidacy for the non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

The two countries’ economic cooperation has been flourishing in recent years. They have held trade fairs in the respective countries annually to promote goods and investment. A meeting of the joint sub-committee on trade has been maintained with the latest – the eighth meeting – taking place in Myanmar in March 2015.

Kien noted that Vietnam is now the ninth biggest trade partner of Myanmar with bilateral trade at 657 million USD. With a total investment capital of 693 million USD, it ranks 10 th among foreign investors there.

Some of Vietnam’s major projects in Myanmar include the Hoang Anh Gia Lai complex in Yangon and the Myanmar branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV). Vietnam’s telecommunication group Viettel is also preparing to form a joint venture with the local group YPT, he added.

However, participants admitted Vietnamese businesses are weak in financial capacity and haven’t gained a firm foothold in Myanmar. Meanwhile, complicated administrative procedures in Myanmar have hampered Vietnamese firms’ development there.

Many attendees agreed that the two sides boast huge potential for investment and trade cooperation in multiple spheres such as agriculture, industrial trees, automobile manufacturing, and construction. Among them, aviation, banking, telecommunications, oil and gas, and mineral should be prioritised in the time ahead.

Myanmar Chargé d’affaires Thaw tar Aung highlighted the countries’ similarities such as struggling for independence in the past and being ASEAN members.

Highly valuing Vietnam’s investment orientations in his homeland, the diplomat assured that Myanmar is ready to assist Vietnamese companies to seek investment opportunities and deal with investment-related administrative procedures.-VNA