Sri Lanka and Vietnam ink first trade minutes

2 April 2015 07:40 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Hoang Quoc Vuong and SS Miyanawala sign the agreed minutes of the first meeting of Sub-Committee on Trade under the Viet Nam – Lanka  Joint Commission



With a call to quadruple bilateral trade to $1 billion, Sri Lanka and Vietnam inked the minutes of the first official joint trade meet in Colombo recently.
“At present we are far below the trade potential in comparison to the future target of $1 billion bilateral trade that we both target. At today’s meeting we formulated the directions of future trade and investment cooperation,” said Vietnamese Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong.

Vice Minister Vuong was making a brief statement at the evening’s signing event of minutes of the first meeting of Sub-Committee on Trade under the Viet Nam–Lanka Joint Commission held in Colombo on the same day.

Vice Minister Vuong was leading the eight-member Vietnamese team while RDS Kumararatne (Director General-Department of Commerce) led the Lankan team at the official talks.

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Vietnam’s Ambassadress to Sri Lanka Phan Kieu Thu joined the evening session to witness the signing of agreed minutes which were signed by SS Miyanawala (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) and  Kran Kuang Huy (DG-South West Asia & Africa Department of Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, Hanoi).

“At present we are far below the trade potential in comparison to the future target of $1Bn bilateral trade that we both target” said Vice Minister Vuong, and added: “At today’s successful meeting we formulated the directions of future trade and investment cooperation. We are a one-party communist state but now following market economic policies with greater enlistment of our private firms and as a result, in this effort, we are moving our private sector for this.”
Vietnam is the third rising economy within ASEAN followed by Indonesia and Philippines.  According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, bilateral trade between the two countries have been increasing steadily. Total trade jumped by a strong 88 percent to $224 million in 2013 from 2012’s $120 million. It further increased by 17 percent to $271 million in 2014. The growth was driven by the increase of Lankan exports to the 90 million market of Vietnam-a huge 84 percent rise in 2014 to $79 million from 2013’s $43 million. In 2013, 10 percent of Lanka’s exports to Vietnam were natural rubber while apparels exports stood at 2 percent.

 “Today’s successful discussions have identified apparel, rubber, coconut, chemical, footwear & leather, rice, agro-machineries as promising products for future bilateral cooperation” said Minister Bathiudeen, making a brief statement, and added: “Sri Lanka has requested concessionary actions from Vietnam and since there are no trade agreements between both countries at present, Vietnam has consented to commence a study on its side to identify Lankan items that could receive such concessions. A trade agreement can help in this regard. We need to understand that Vietnam is also a growing ASEAN member and future openings for Sri Lanka could give our exporters this promising ASEAN-the seventh largest economy in the world, in addition to Vietnam market itself.”

Since 1978, almost ten agreements and MoUs have been signed between Sri Lanka and Vietnam in Trade, Civil Aviation and Economic, Scientific, Culture and Technical Cooperation.
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