Vietnam, Greece set for major trade boost

By Vo Van    December 19, 2018 | 02:00 am PT
When the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement comes into effect, Greece is a potential entrepot for Vietnamese businesses seeking access to Europe.

Vietnam is one of the key markets Greek businesses are focused on. Greece has ratified the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), supports the early adoption of the deal, and wants to be a "gateway" to the EU for Vietnam.

Once the EVFTA comes into effect, the two countries expect their trade to surpass $300 million.

At a recent business forum, Doan Duy Khuong, vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said Greece is a country with developed shipping and tourism industries.

"Shipping is an area for Vietnamese enterprises to cooperate and invest in."

"Vietnam and Greece have held exchanges and explored cooperation in shipping. The two countries are negotiating an agreement in shipping," he added.

Fostering cooperation in this area will not only benefit Vietnam's economy but also help implement its maritime strategy.

Khuong said the Greek economy has seen positive changes, gradually recovering and regaining momentum. The EVFTA, expected to come into force next year, would certainly bolster bilateral trade and investment ties.

Konstantinos Bitsios, vice president of the Federation of Greek Enterprises, said Vietnam’s exports of agricultural products, textiles, and leather and footwear are highly competitive compared to that of China and India.

"Vietnam is taking the initiative in renovating the economy, improving the business environment and improving the legal system to attract foreign investment. Businesses in Greece are big corporations, experienced and with high technology in many fields.

"But both countries need more information and an operational framework to expand strategic investment opportunities."

Last year bilateral trade topped $300 million. The two countries have demand for and potential for development in shipping and logistics, shipbuilding, ports, tourism, and agricultural processing.

Shipping and tourism have been two key areas of bilateral cooperation in the last few years since Greece is a world leader in shipping with more than 4,500 commercial vessels or 20 percent of the world’s total.

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