Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 24 August 2014





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Boost for Lanka-Vietnam trade

A trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Vietnam was signed in Hanoi last week.

Today's beginning will open opportunities for both countries. Setting up of a Joint Working Group (JWG) or Joint Trade Sub Committee, will help strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations and my Ministry will closely monitor progress, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen told the opening session of the bilateral discussions to set up the first Joint Trade Sub Committee (JTSC) between the two countries.

The discussions took place at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Vietnam.

“We commend and appreciate Sri Lanka's economic and social development strategies since the end of terrorism. We also appreciate Lanka's improvement in the Human Development Index rankings.

Vietnam is keen to learn about the five hub strategy in Sri Lanka for the social development of our country,” said a Vietnamese trade official.

“The Vietnamese economy like the Sri Lankan economy faced difficulties due to global recession. Despite this, Vietnam recorded strong GDP growth of 5.32% in 2013 and 5.5% in the first seven months of this year,” he said.

“Our inflation rate which was at 6.2% in 2013 fell to 1.45% in the first seven months of 2014. Our total international trade which stood at US $ 266 billion in 2013, is expected to rise to US $300 billion.

We brought our household poverty rate to 9% by 2013,” the official said.

“Sri Lanka and Vietnam have much potential for economic cooperation and investments. Present trade volumes are modest and not on a par with the strong bilateral cooperation that exists between both countries.

"I call upon the Sri Lanka Ministry of Industry and to set up a Sub Committee on the Sri Lanka side and work with us,” he said.

“We will engage with the relevant agencies in Vietnam in this exercise and both sides will continue exchanges in this regard. Following the setting up of the JTSC the possibility of setting up the Preferential Trade Agreement between both countries should be explored,” the official said.

“At present Vietnam ranks as the 40th export destination and the 23rd supplier, accounting for 0.43% of our total exports and 1.06% of our total imports,” a Commerce Ministry official said.

Trade between the two countries which stood at US $ 119.5 million in 2012 increased to US $ 224.4 million in 2013, registering a growth of 88%.

Since 2011, PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PVOil) has supplied its Sri Lankan counterpart petroleum products.

In the field of industry, the two countries have concluded a number of important agreements, creating a legal framework for further cooperation.

The agreements include, the MoUs on Machinery Manufacturing Cooperation between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka and Cooperation in the fields of oil and gas exploration between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam and Ministry of Industry and Prime Minister's Secretary Office of Sri Lanka.


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