LAHORE: Ambassador of Vietnam Nguyen Tien Phong has said that to increase the volume of trade, both the countries need to facilitate the business people and share the relevant information. Vietnam Embassy in Islamabad and Karachi is always ready to help and facilitate businessmen from Pakistan.
He was talking to LCCI Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion.
The Ambassador said “this is his first visit to Lahore and he will share three types of things with the Lahore Chamber. First, history of Vietnam Diplomatic and Economic relations, secondly, what frameworks should be in place for economic cooperation, and third and last thing is data and statistics figures and the implementation process.”
He said Vietnam and Pakistan last year had celebrated 50 years of relations. “Pakistan has always supported Vietnam in all the international forums. We should go ahead with our relations by boosting our economic ties.”
He said “we have a mechanism in place like meetings every year. We have setup sub committees as we are partners in difficult times. We should be partner in prosperity.”
The Ambassador said “we want to bring Vietnam businessmen to Pakistan to explore the huge potential of Lahore and Punjab. The Ambassador shared that 90 percent of cotton and 60 percent of yarn being imported from Lahore.”
He said with this Vietnam also exports fisheries, tea, paper, chemicals, ginger and other products to Pakistan which are not more than 0.5 percent of our total exports. Similarly, Vietnam imports pharmaceuticals, cotton, leather products, the volume of which is also very low.
He said the embassy can also assist to fine potential business partners for Pakistani businessmen. The Ambassador also said LCCI should set up a delegation to Vietnam to meet with their counterparts and we can also arrange meetings with ministers and high-ups in Vietnam.
“We have seen that Pakistan is facing difficulties and containers are stuck at ports but we have solution to this issue also as we can work out to develop a mechanism of barter trade between the two sides.”
Upon which LCCI SVP agreed and said he would personally lead a delegation of businessmen to Vietnam to explore trade and investment opportunities.
LCCI Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry said both Vietnam and Pakistan enjoyed more than 50 years of sound diplomatic relations that were formally established in 1972. Besides excellent diplomatic ties, both countries enjoy trade and economic cooperation in diverse fields.
He said despite starting as one of the weaker economies in the mid of 1970s and 1980s, Vietnam emerged against all the odds. He said that following the path of rapid economic growth, Vietnam showed impressive progress in industrial, agricultural and services sectors. “That was the result of a broad-based economic transformation which dismantled the largely planned economy while opening a closed economy to international markets and foreign trade.”
He mentioned that over the few decades, the global exports of Vietnam have surpassed 335 Billion Dollars while the global imports of Vietnam have crossed 330 Billion Dollars. “We have a lot to learn from Vietnam economic model.”
He thanked Vietnam for contributing 100,000 Dollars in flood relief assistance program initiated by the Government of Pakistan.
The LCCI SVP said there was an increasing trend being witnessed in mutual trade figures between Pakistan and Vietnam. However, he suggested taking concrete measures to enhance the scale of bilateral trade that is hovering around 839 million dollars. “Moreover, we would also like to close the gap of trade deficit as Pakistan is facing unfavourable balance of trade with Vietnam,” he added.
He said that according to the statistics taken from State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s exports to Vietnam increased from 117 million dollars in 2020-21 to 261 million dollars in 2021-22. In the same period, the imports from Vietnam also increased from 444 million dollars to 578 million dollars.
He said the share of Pakistan in total trade of Vietnam is just 0.12 percent. Both the countries should target to take the level of bilateral trade volume to at least 2 billion dollars in the first phase and keep on enhancing it especially through providing more space to Pakistani exporters to tap the immense potential in Vietnam market.
He said Pakistan’s main exports to Vietnam consist of cotton, plastic, frozen fish, woven fabrics of cotton, oilcake, leather, oil seeds, frozen meat, maize, and Pharmaceutical products etc. On the other hand, Pakistan imports from Vietnam include electronic equipment, man-made filaments, coffee, tea, spices, sea foods, vegetables, rubber products, iron and steel etc.
He said Pakistan has huge potential of exporting various items to Vietnam which are being imported from other countries. For example, the fabrics imports of Vietnam are around 4 billion dollars, Coal 3.9 billion dollars, corn 2.8 billion dollars, Medicaments 2.2 billion dollars, wheat 1.4 billion dollars and leather 1.1 billion dollars etc. Pakistan can certainly enhance its exports to Vietnam in these sectors.
He said seafood could be the most potential holding sector for Pakistan. Similarly, Pakistan can also export processed meat, fruits and vegetables to Vietnam. Moreover, there is tremendous room for collaboration in the Information Technology and Tourism Sectors.
He said there was a need to find new avenues of trade between Pakistan and Vietnam because Vietnam, being an active member of ASEAN, holds great importance for Pakistan. Both countries should explore the possibility of a signing Free Trade Agreement which can provide better market access to business communities from Pakistan and Vietnam.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023