Russia calls Vietnam leading partner in Southeast Asia

As the only Southeast Asian country to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Vietnam is Russia’s leading business partner in the area, Russia’s Deputy PM Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

Trade between Vietnam and Russia has been facilitated by the Vietnam-EAEU FTA that took effect in October 2016, with trade revenues increasing around 15% annually between 2016 and 2021, to more than US$5.5 billion, Chernyshenko said at the Vietnam-Russia Business Forum attended by more than 150 Vietnamese businesses and more than 50 Russian businesses in Hanoi Thursday.

“Russia and Vietnam are willing to discuss new measures to make more gains from the trade deal,” he said.

He told Vietnamese businesses at the forum that Russia is a reliable international partner who promotes open economy and free trade.

“We welcome Vietnamese businesses to Russia.”

He said the Russian government is focusing on developing new solutions in science, education, and digital technology and is willing to share the experience with Vietnam.

Meanwhile, it is looking for solutions in logistics and sustainable energy, areas where foreign investors will receive favorable conditions, he said.

Vietnam’s Deputy PM Tran Hong Ha said the results from economic cooperation between Vietnam and Russia remain “modest” and that different agencies have proposed new projects to boost cooperation in various fields from commerce, infrastructure, energy, to training and scientific research.

“We encourage Russian businesses to participate in more areas,” Ha said, adding that Vietnam is focusing on drawing foreign investment into high tech, innovation and green economy.

By March 2023, Russia has had 171 business projects operative in Vietnam, with registered capital of more than $970 million, making it the 28th largest investor among 143 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

More than half of the projects involve natural resources exploitation.

Vietnam meanwhile is operating 17 projects worth $1.63 billion in Russia, which account for 7% of Vietnamese investment overseas.

Due to various reasons including the war in Ukraine, Vietnam and Russia’s trade turnover dropped 35.4% last year to $3.55 billion, with Vietnam’s export down 51.4%, according to Vietnam Customs.