Vo Tan Thanh, vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and General Director of VCCI HCM City branch, told a conference on Vietnam and Australia trade connection held in the City on June 4 .
Mr Thanh said Vietnam-Australia bilateral ties have seen strong development over the past 45 years, especially in trade, investment and tourism. Bilateral trade hit US$6.5 billion last year, including US$3.3 billion from Vietnam’s exports to Australia and nearly US$3.2 billion from its imports. Australia is currently Vietnam’s eighth largest trading partner while Vietnam is the 15th biggest trading partner of the Oceanic nation.
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By the end of last year, Australia had injected US$1.8 billion in about 400 projects in Vietnam, ranking 19th out of 126 countries and territories investing in the country.
The Australian Government has been encouraging its businesses to land more investments in Vietnam, which has also run numerous projects in Australia. Thanh said he believed that with the current growth rate, Australia's investment ranking in Vietnam would be remarkably improved towards becoming one of the top ten foreign investors in Vietnam.
Australia is also among the biggest official development assistance (ODA) donor countries to Vietnam. Every year, it provides around US$150 million worth of ODA for Vietnam. Nearly 300,000 Vietnamese people are living in the country, which serves as a bridge to boost bilateral trade ties.
Tien Thinh International director Le Thanh Tung, said Vietnam’s exports to Australia make up 1.7% of the country’s total imports only, although Vietnam is its 15th biggest exporter.
Australia is considered a potential market for Vietnamese businesses. However, to expand trade and investment activities in Australia, domestic businesses should make further research on the market as well as its investment policies and other regulations, said Mr Tung.
Gary Dawes, senior international trade adviser from the New South Wales Business Chamber, said Australia is the fifth biggest economy in the Asia-Pacific region and the Australia Government has long-term and consistent investment and trade policies.
Vietnamese businesses should define their target market and ability to approach if they want to invest or do business in the country. As a gateway of many economies, Vietnam will have an opportunity to penetrate other markets after its products enter Australia, said Mr Dawes.
Businesses at the conference also put questions concerning exports to Australia, investment attraction policies of New South Wales, information on consumer trends in furniture, plastic packaging, real estate investment opportunities, and real estate trend in the next five years.VOV