VN, Czech Republic seek closer investment, trade ties

The Czech Republic seeks to boost co-operation with Viet Nam in a range of sectors like energy, infrastructure, transport, environment, medical equipment, and nano- and bio-technologies, its Environment Minister has said.

Speaking at the Czech-Vietnamese Business Forum in HCM City on November 21, Richard Brabec said he also sees great opportunities in mining, financial services, insurance, food processing, and information and communications technology.

Bilateral trade is not commensurate with the potential, he said.

Vo Tan Thanh, director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCM City branch, said the Czech Republic is a strategic export market for Vietnamese businesses.

Bilateral trade was worth over US$298 million last year after rising by 16 per cent, of which Viet Nam’s exports were worth nearly $156.5 million, he said.

Viet Nam’s main exports include mobile phones and accessories, footwear, seafood, garments, coffee, pepper, fruits, tea, rice, rubber, handicrafts and computer accessories, he said.

Its imports include chemicals, computers, electronic products, machinery, spare parts, plastic and glassware, he said.

In terms of investment, as of April this year, Czech enterprises had invested nearly $90.3 million in Viet Nam while Vietnamese firms have invested over $5 million in the Czech Republic, he said.

The two countries have also enhanced co-operation in sectors such as education and training, defence and labour, he said.

“The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of $1 billion in the coming time.”

Brabec said his country "wants to boost exports to Viet Nam to reduce the trade deficit", and expressed the belief that the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement, which is expected to take effect next year, would bring new trade opportunities.

A direct air service between Ha Noi and Prague expected to begin in 2020 would further promote trade and tourism ties between the countries, he said.

Viet Nam is seeking new technologies to underpin its economic growth, and this offers good opportunities to Czech firms, he said.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said Viet Nam has adopted policies for developing its economy sustainably.

In addition to the garment and textile, agricultural processing, auto, aviation, and pharmaceutical industries, the two countries also have great potential in innovating technologies for environmental protection and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

Brabec said heads of large Czech businesses in various sectors and schools and research institutes accompanying him to Viet Nam are keen on the Vietnamese market.

The Czech Republic is a gateway to Europe for Vietnamese goods, while Viet Nam could help Czech goods access the 600-million Southeast Asian market, he added.

The forum was organised by the Czech embassy in Viet Nam, the Czech Federation of Industries, the VCCI, and Ton Duc Thang University.

The minister is visiting Viet Nam from November 20 to 22.

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