A workshop was held in Hanoi on September 11 to further promote Vietnam-South Africa trade, investment and tourism cooperative relations.
In his opening speech, Doan Duy Khuong, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Vietnam is now a leading partner of South Africa in Southeast Asia, with bilateral trade increasing fivefold in the past decade from 192 million USD in 2007 to 1.03 billion USD in 2016.
Vietnam has mainly shipped phones and components, computers, electronic products, footwear, rice, cashew nuts, coffee and wooden products to South Africa, while imported plastics, garment-textile and footwear materials, chemical products, metals and steel from the African country, he said.
Vietnam and South Africa still have potentials for stronger cooperation in such industrial sectors as mining, steel manufacturing, logging, and pulp producing. Vietnam is considering the possibility of partnership with South Africa in thermal power, auto production and assembly, foodstuff processing and beverages, among other sectors.
Helen Zille, Premier of Western Cape province, who is leading a business delegation to Vietnam, expressed her delight at the fruits of Vietnam-South Africa trade ties, but saying that economic ties have yet to be on par with potentials and expectations of both nations.
Zille suggested Vietnamese and South African enterprises work together to tackle difficulties in transport costs and regional economic downturn, and urged them to take the initiative in seeking partners.
She said the two governments have encouraged cooperation between marine shipping and logistics firms to facilitate import and export activities.
The official said in the past five years, South Africa has invested more than 100 billion USD in infrastructure development and planned to pour an additional 400 billion USD into this field in the next 15 years. This will open up an opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to boost export of products such as cement, she added.