The Forum for Partners in Iran's Marketplace

January 2017, No. 82

Trade & Business

Iran, Vietnam Pledge $2 Billion Trade Boost

Vietnamís prime minister, for his part, emphasized that his country is determined to increase the level of trade with Iran to above $2 billion.

Iranís President Hassan Rouhani launched a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia in early October, which took him to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

The Iranian chief executive left Tehran (Oct. 5) for the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on the first leg of his trip.

In the visit, Rouhani was accompanied by his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, several cabinet ministers and senior government officials.

Before departure, Rouhani briefed reporters about his agenda of talks in the three countries. He described Asia as a highly important continent, adding, ďThe 21st century belongs to Asia.Ē

The ultimate goal of the trip was attending a summit of the inter-governmental organization of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), which gathered 34 Asian nations, in the Thai capital of Bangkok, Rouhani noted.

ďThe organizationís goals comprise increasing convergence and cooperation among Asian countries and improving Asiaís role in international interactions,Ē Rouhani said.

He also hailed Vietnam as a country which has contributed to the economic development in the region, and one that enjoys good and close relations with Iran.

Rouhani noted that the visit to Vietnam is meant to enhance bilateral Tehran-Hanoi ties, especially in the area of exporting Iranís technical and engineering services.

The Iranian President further said Malaysia, his second destination, has had traditionally favorable relations with Iran, adding that his talks there are aimed at repairing the ties which have unfortunately suffered a decline in recent years.

The Bangkok stop, the last leg of the tour, will also feature bilateral meetings with Thai officials, Rouhani said. 

Rouhani expressed hope that the 9th Iran-Vietnam Joint Commission session, which is expected to be held soon, will pave the way for creating more dynamism in Tehran-Hanoi relations.

Trade in Focus as Rouhani Launches Asia Visit 

Rouhani was accorded a detailed official welcome in Hanoi by his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang. 

Addressing a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart in Hanoi (Oct. 6), Rouhani said the two agreed that despite many opportunities for economic, trade and investment affiliation between their countries, the scale of cooperation and trade exchange has remained modest. They therefore set a target of boosting bilateral trade to over US$2 billion and creating optimal conditions for their companies to cooperate in such areas as energy, information and communications, agriculture, fisheries, science-technology and banking.

Rouhani said huge grounds exist for economic and trade cooperation between Tehran and Hanoi as he invited Vietnamese companies to invest in Iranís energy sector.

Rouhani further voiced the Islamic Republicís preparedness to export oil, petrochemical products as well as technical and engineering services to Vietnam.

Iran and Vietnam, he said, have close views on major international issues, adding that the two countries seek peace and stability in East Asia as well as the Middle East.

The two presidents also said Tehran and Hanoi are against violence and extremism and believe that all crises must be resolved through dialog.

Iran opened an embassy in Hanoi in 1991 and Vietnam opened its embassy in Tehran in 1997. They established relations in 1973 and since then the two countries have increased political and economic cooperation through exchange of visits by senior officials from both sides.

Trade exchanges between Iran and Vietnam reached $300 million in 2013 from $80 million in 2010. Those transactions currently stand at $350 million, meaning the two countries have an arduous task to hit the $2 billion mark.  

Rouhani Vows Better Conditions for Vietnamese Oil, Gas Firms 

President Trần told reporters that he and his Iranian counterpart had reached agreement on tightening political links between their two countries and expanding their collaboration in economic, cultural and scientific-technological areas.

He said the two sides had agreed to support each other in pursuing development for their peopleís prosperity, and for peace and stability in the region and the world. He praised the UN General Assemblyís resolution on a world against violence and extremism, initiated by Rouhani.

The two sides also discussed the security situation in the region and reiterated their pledge to contribute to peace and resolve conflicts on the basis of internationally-recognized universal principles.

Rouhani, for his part, told reporters that Iran is ready to create better conditions for Vietnamese oil and gas firms to expand their presence in his country by implementing existing contracts and seeking new business opportunities. He also underlined Iranís willingness to work with Vietnamís high-tech industry and to cooperate in the areas of construction materials, transport infrastructure and thermoelectricity, as well as in agricultural production.

Vietnam and Iran will also expand cooperation in culture, education, tourism and people-to-people exchanges, President Trần said, adding that Vietnam will facilitate the access of Iranian goods to the Vietnamese market. He applauded Rouhaniís support for the import of Vietnamese goods into Iran in order to balance bilateral trade.

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of two cooperation documents, one on visa exemption for official passport holders and another an MoU on cooperation in information and communications.

The Iranian President invited his Vietnamese counterpart to visit Iran. 

ĎIran Ready to Export Steel, Oil to Vietnamí  

President Rouhani told Vietnamís Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that both countries have yet to benefit from considerable opportunities that exist for them to boost their relations.

He said Iran is ready to expand trade ties with Vietnam and specifically supply the country with steel and crude oil.

Rouhani emphasized that the expansion of relations with Southeast Asian countries, especially Vietnam, has always been a top priority for Iran.

He said Vietnam can become a base for Iranís trade activities in the region. To the same effect, the Iranian President added, Vietnam can access a market of 400 million people through Iran.

Rouhani said the removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for the two countries to enhance their economic ties.  He added that Tehran and Hanoi need to strengthen their banking relations first in order to facilitate any step toward the expansion of commercial relations.

Vietnamís prime minister, for his part, emphasized that his country is determined to increase the level of trade with Iran to above $2 billion. He added that Hanoi wants to expand relations with Iran in all areas and that it is prepared to move toward the establishment of a mutual free trade mechanism between the two countries.

In March, Vietnamís then president Truong Tan Sang visited Iran to discuss the expansion of mutual ties.

Rouhani had told his former Vietnamese peer Sang when he was in Tehran that the Islamic Republic was ready to increase trade with Vietnam from the current level of $350 million to above $2 billion within the next five years. 

New Era in Tehran-Hanoi Relations  

Rouhani praised his talks with senior Vietnamese officials as successful, saying his visit to Southeast Asian state opens a ďnew chapterĒ in Tehran-Hanoi relations.

Rouhani made the remarks at a meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, the secretary general of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, in Hanoi (Oct. 6).

The Iranian chief executive said that grounds are prepared for the expansion of ties between the two countries, especially after last yearís nuclear deal between Tehran and the six world powers.

ďPrivate sectors of Iran and Vietnam are interested in broadening relations and in doing so, the reinforcement of cooperation, especially in the areas of energy, new technologies, banking, agriculture and fishery will be of special importance,Ē Rouhani said.

He underlined the need for expanding banking ties at the same pace with bilateral political and economic relations.

Rouhani also expressed hope that the 9th Iran-Vietnam Joint Commission session, which is expected to be held soon, will pave the way for creating more dynamism in Tehran-Hanoi relations.

He further voiced Tehranís readiness for enhanced relations in scientific and cultural areas among universities and research centers.

The Vietnamese official, for his part, referred to long-standing and good relations with Iran and the capacities for bolstering relations.

He also congratulated Iran on its achievements, especially in the nuclear talks, saying that Hanoi attaches special importance to enhanced ties with Tehran.

Relations should also be developed in educational, scientific and agricultural fields, Trong added.

Economic ties between the two countries are not as deep as the friendship between the two nations and efforts should be made to forge closer ties, he concluded. 

Rouhani, Phuc Talk Trade: Rice & Cashews, Carpets & Ores 

Prime Minister Phúc congratulated the Iranian President on the removal of the international sanctions and the nuclear deal secured with world powers, saying the developments opened up great cooperation opportunities for Vietnam and Iran. He expressed his hope that President Rouhaniís visit would open up a new chapter in the two countriesí relations.

Specifically, the PM suggested the sides to focus on facilitating trade activities, particularly the export of tea, seafood, rice, cashew, coffee, peppercorns, apparel and rubber from Vietnam - as well as the shipments of plastic materials, metal, chemicals, ores, machinery, dried fruit and carpets from Iran.

He proposed elevating rice trade to the State level to stabilize the market in the long term, adding that he supports a joint project between Iran and the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ on the cultivation of Iranian long-grain rice in Vietnam for export to Iran.

The PM urged stronger cooperation in information and telecommunications, asking the Iranian government to facilitate the operation of Vietnamese telecom companies in Iran.

He also requested further support from the Iranian side for PetroVietnam in resuming oil exploration at Danan oil block in Iran, according to Vietnam News Agency.

PM Phúc noted that Vietnamís participation in a range of free trade agreements would provide opportunities for foreign investors and businesses, including those from Iran.

For his part, Rouhani said Iran wants to work together with Vietnam in realizing agreements secured by the two countriesí inter-governmental committee, particularly in the fields of energy, oil and gas, IT and agriculture.

He agreed with his host about the need to facilitate ties between Vietnamese and Iranian businesses, adding that Tehran was willing to supply Hanoi with construction materials and joint cooperation projects in building thermo-power plants, water supply systems, and roads and bridges.

He thanked Vietnam for supporting his country in becoming a member of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.

Rouhani said he hoped the two countries would accelerate negotiations to sign a bilateral free trade pact and suggested the establishment of a maritime route between the two countries.

He described PetroVietnamís oil exploration project in the Danan oil block as a symbol of bilateral cooperation, adding that the two sides should work together to resume the project.

Rouhani also promised more scholarships for Vietnamese students.


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  January 2017
No. 82