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Forum looks to tighten Vietnam-Argentina economic links

The event was attended by Gustavo Perego, Undersecretary of State at Argentina’s Ministry of the Economy and Production; Carlos Restaino, President of the country’s Commission for Integration and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur); and representatives of more than 50 Argentinean enterprises.

Opening the forum, Vietnamese Ambassador to Argentina Nguyen Dinh Thao briefed participants on Vietnam’s economic development and incentives for foreign investors. He highlighted the expansion of bilateral cooperation in politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, agriculture, healthcare, science and technology.

Two-way trade has increased significantly over the past few years, reaching US$3.03 billion in 2016 and expected to hit US$3.5 billion this year. Along with Mexico and Brazil, Argentina is one of the three Latin American countries posting trade of over US$1 billion with Vietnam.

However, those results have not yet matched the potential, he noted.

In the time ahead, the countries will continue discussing the feasibility of negotiations for the signing of a trade agreement between Vietnam and Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. They will also step up collaboration in culture, agriculture, bio-technology, forensic medicine, telecommunications, energy and pharmaceuticals, he added.

Restaino analysed the enormous potential for economic, trade and investment partnerships between the countries’ businesses amid growing political relations.

He stressed that Vietnam is a prioritised market in his country’s export diversification and expansion strategy. It is also one of Argentina’s most important trade partners and its third-biggest importer in Asia.

Argentina’s main exports to Vietnam include soybean oil, corn, wheat, animal feed and pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, it imports footwear, apparel, rubber, electronic components and plastic products from the Southeast Asian nation.