The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) expects trade turnover between Vietnam and Singapore will increase up to fourfold in the near future from the current modest level.

Vietnam’s agro-forestry-fishery exports only account for below four percent of Singapore’s total imports, Le An Hai, deputy head of the MoIT’s Asian-Pacific Market Department, told Vietnam News Agency correspondents on the sidelines of an October 9 meeting on seafood and agricultural products between representatives from some 40 Singaporean associations and businesses and 16 Vietnamese companies.

Almost all the Vietnamese firms in the delegation to Singapore had gained a foothold here but still wanted to expand their market share, he added.

From October 7-9, the delegation had working sessions with the International Enterprise Singapore, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association, and NTUC Fairprice – the country’s leading supermarket chain.

The two sides discussed the increase of Vietnamese exports, the attraction of Singaporean importers and producers’ investment in Vietnam, and cooperation in animal and plant quarantine, Hai said.

Nguyen Viet Chi, Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor to Singapore, said almost all seafood and agricultural products on sale in the country are imports, and these are of Vietnam’s strength.

Vietnam’s seafood and agricultural exports to Singapore enjoyed an average annual growth of nearly 20 percent, rising from 279 million SGD (219.6 million USD) in 2011 to around 400 million SGD (314.8 million USD) in 2013.

Vietnam is Singapore’s third largest exporter of rice and aquatic products with respective export revenues of nearly 79 million SGD and 92 million SGD in 2013, she elaborated, adding that it is the eighth biggest purveyor of fruits and vegetables in Singapore with around 42 million SGD in revenue last year.

Chi stressed that Singapore’s demand for seafood and agricultural products remain enormous, which is a great opportunity for Vietnamese companies to boost their exports.

Lee Boon Cheow, President of Singapore Fish Merchants General Association, said: “Vietnam’s frozen fish is quite popular in Singapore; the price is very reasonable to suit our market’s demand. Normally, the fish is very good in taste for consumers.”

“Our association will try to increase chilled fish (import) from Vietnam because we can import from Thailand and Myanmar and I think Vietnam is also possible”, he added.-VNA