Forum eyes trade with Indonesia

HCM CITY (Biz Hub)— Viet Nam and Indonesia plan to exploit the plentiful potential and opportunities for co-operation in many fields to achieve a bilateral trade turnover of US$5 billion by 2015, officials said at a two-day forum that opened in HCM City yesterday.

The second Indonesia – Viet Nam Trade, Tourism and Investment Forum, organised by the Indonesian Embassy in Ha Noi, Indonesian Consulate General in HCM City and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aimed to identify ways to enhance commercial ties between the two countries.

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said Indonesia was an important trade and investment partner for Viet Nam in general and HCM City in particular.

Bilateral trade between Indonesia and HCM City last year reached more than $1 billion. There are currently 12 Indonesian projects in HCM City with a total investment capital of $26 million, Hong said.

HCM City welcomed 42,000 visitors from Indonesia last year, an increase of nearly 10 per cent over 2011, she said.

Indonesian ambassador Mayerfas said Viet Nam and Indonesia have already recorded impressive gains in bilateral economic co-operation. In just 10 years, bilateral trade had increased ten-fold to $4.8 billion last year, he noted.

The major commodities imported by Indonesia from Viet Nam are rice, mobile phones and spare parts, steel, crude oil, coffee, vehicle spare parts and cotton.

Indonesia exports paper, vegetables, oil, machinery, computers, electronics and spare parts, chemicals, motorbike spare parts, plastic materials, animal feed and fabric to Viet Nam, Mayerfas said.

He said over 30 Indonesian companies are currently operating in Viet Nam, and several other firms have invested here through a third country.

With a large population of 250 million that imports goods worth $191 billion last year, Indonesia presents a market with big potential for Vietnamese companies, he added.

In turn, Viet Nam is an attractive destination for Indonesian investors with its market of almost 90 million people, abundant natural resources, rapid improvement of late in its business and investment climate, open economic policies and rapid integration into the global economy, Mayerfas said.

Particular areas of interest for Indonesian businesses to invest in Viet Nam include manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, food processing, cement, oil, gas, tourism and education.

Ernawati, senior advisor to the Indonesian Trade Minister, said Indonesia considers Viet Nam a regional trade and investment hub offering a conduit to co-operation with other countries like Cambodia and Laos.

She said Viet Nam has demonstrated its agricultural strengths, especially in its high rice productivity, and Indonesia has abundant potential in fisheries as well as several agriculture commodities. This allows both sides to explore opportunities to further increase trade and investment co-operation.

“During the last couple of years, the trade balance between the two countries has not been in our favour. But we are looking beyond the deficit that we have to bear,” she said.

The trade gap should be bridged with more co-operation and transfer of knowledge in order to improve the bilateral ties, Ernawati said.

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said as of the end of last year, Indonesia had 34 projects with a total investment capital of more than $296 million, ranking 27th among more than 90 nations and territories that have invested in Viet Nam and fifth among ASEAN countries.

Dang Xuan Quang, deputy head of the Overseas Investment Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said Viet Nam has issued favourable policies for foreign investors to invest in areas like new materials and energy production, production of hi-tech products, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, education, healthcare, sports, public transportation.

In particular, foreign investors will benefit from the waiver from import taxes for machinery, pay lower land rents, and receive a reduction of 10-20 per cent in corporate income tax, he said.

Do Quoc Hung, an expert with the Asia-Pacific Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said

The two countries should also launch more promotion programmes to boost trade and investment ties and have delegations visit each other to learn mote about the two markets, he said.

Most importantly, the two countries need to limit the erection of trade barriers for mutual benefit, Hung said.

Today, the two sides will carry their discussions further on several topics, officials said. — VNS

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