HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam hopes Gabon will act as a bridge helping it expand trade ties with other countries in Central Africa, and that the two sides will boost connections in the industries they have strength in, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyễn Hồng Diên has said.
He made the remarks during a meeting on Wednesday with Gabonese Minister of Trade Yves Fernand Manfoumbi, who is joining a visiting economic and trade delegation of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) led by OIF Secretary-General Louise Mushikiwabo.
Diên cited statistics as showing that bilateral trade stood at around US$63.5 million in 2021, up 22 per cent from the previous year. That included $17.6 million worth of Vietnamese exports to and $45.9 million worth of imports from Gabon.
Despite the trade growth, the revenue has yet to match the two sides’ potential, he noted, adding that Việt Nam ships mainly rice, plastic products, seafood, fruits and vegetables to Gabon while buying timber, wood products, ores, and minerals from the latter.
To tap into the two countries’ potential and enhance their economic – trade links, the Vietnamese minister called for increased all-level mutual visits and optimal conditions for businesses to directly meet each other when possible.
He also suggested Gabon prioritise importing rice, medical supplies like face masks and personal protective equipment, and other products from Việt Nam.
Speaking highly of Gabon’s rich natural resources such as oil and manganese, Diên said this is an opportunity for the two countries to tighten trade and investment ties, and that stronger partnership with the African nation also matches Việt Nam’s policy of diversifying export – import markets and material supply sources for domestic manufacturing.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade will encourage enterprises to consider cooperation with Gabonese partners in such fields as oil and gas, food, textile – garment, leather – footwear, and mining industries, he added.
For his part, Manfoumbi invited the Vietnamese minister and enterprises to visit Gabon in July to explore cooperation and investment opportunities in the areas his country is prioritising.
He also underlined the necessity to activate cooperation activities at this point of time to help both countries gain more momentum for post-pandemic economic recovery and development.
At the meeting, the officials agreed to assign personnel in charge of discussing detailed coordination plans, including the possibility of signing a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a joint working group.
The two ministers also inked a letter of intent on economic and trade cooperation between their ministries. — VnExpress News
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