Vietnam, Israel look toward bilateral FTA next year

Wednesday, November 17, 2021  11:43

                           At the working session (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien has hailed Israel as a promising market of Vietnam in West Asia.

During a working session with Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Nadav Eshcar in Hanoi on November 16, Dien said Israel is now the fifth largest trade partner of Vietnam. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic last year, two-way trade still hit US$1.6 billion, up 36.4 percent annually. The figure went up 14.3% year-on-year to US$1.3 billion in nine months of this year.

Vietnam’s major exports to Israel include mobile phones, computers and accessories, aquatic products, cashew nuts, apparel, footwear, coffee, pepper, machinery and equipment, natural rubber, beverages, plastic and wooden products, chemicals, handicrafts and ceramics.

Dien suggested the ambassador offer support to the country in trade promotion, both directly and indirectly, to bring more Vietnamese goods such as pepper, cashew nuts, coffee, fruit and vegetables, leather and footwear to Israel.

According to him, both sides should consider a mechanism on sharing of information regarding technical requirements for exports, contributing to lifting two-way trade.

Eshcar, for his part, said negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and Israel are in the final stage which will create a new breakthrough for bilateral ties. If the deal is signed, two-way trade could rise to US$ 3-4 billion each year quickly.

The Israeli side is urging agencies concerned to complete the talks this year and look to sign the deal next year, he said.

The host wished that the Israeli firms would invest more in support and electronics industries in Vietnam, as well as offer more assistance in investment, digital transformation, and technological infrastructure.

Vietnam is ready to step up negotiations towards reaching a bilateral FTA with balanced interests for both sides, he said.