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EghtesadOnline: Vietnam is looking to expand ties with Iran, especially in the banking sector, reaffirming the commitment to achieve the bilateral trade target of $2 billion set in Oct. 2016.

This was declared by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in his meeting on Thursday with the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholamhossein Shafei.

In a meeting with Shafei who was visiting Hanoi on Wednesday at the head of a business delegation, the Vietnamese president said his country intends to ease the process of issuing tourist and business visas for Iranians.

Five Iranian lawmakers are accompanying the head of Tehran’s commerce chamber, which indicates the attention paid by the government and parliament to improve relations with Vietnam, according to Financial Tribune.

Quang, who has been in office for a year, called on Vietnamese banks to take the first step to establish banking ties with their Iranian peers “with the aim of accelerating the expansion of bilateral ties”, IRNA reported.

He noted that his government will provide credits for Vietnamese businesses to invest in Iran and for both countries’ private sectors to have a more fruitful collaboration.

Quang called his 90-million-strong nation a market with many opportunities for Iranian businesspeople and invited Iranian investors to take part in Vietnamese projects. He added that his nation is ready to become a conduit for Iranian exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which boasts a collective population of over 600 million.

Referring to Iran’s high oil, gas and petrochemical potentials, Quang said his country is ready to further collaborate with Iran in these sectors and is planning to export goods such as rice, tea, coffee, pepper and motorcycle parts to Iran.

Goals Reaffirmed

Shafei stressed the finalization of banking, trade and agriculture agreements with the southeastern Asian country, saying the Iranian government wants to expand economic ties with the region and Vietnam plays an important role in this framework.

In October 2016, Shafei was part of the delegation accompanying President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to Hanoi. The two sides had vowed at the time to facilitate cooperation in different fields, including energy, information and communications, agriculture, fisheries, technology and banking.

“The result of those talks even in this short period has led to a 22% increase in business transactions and Vietnam is now among the first 20 target countries for Iranian trade,” Shafei said.

Pointing to the president’s remarks that Vietnam can be “our point of entry to the fifth biggest economic block of the world, the ASEAN”, the TCCIM chief added that Iran can be a safe and short route for Vietnam to reach the 400-million-strong market in Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Both Quang and Shafei pointed to the pledge made in October that bilateral trade between Iran and Vietnam would increase to $2 billion a year, with the former saying the current volume is not befitting of the countries.

“Economic capacities show that the set target is easily accessible and I hope the chambers of commerce of both countries would help realize the targets of the presidents in due course,” Shafei said.

The Iranian official also attended the Iran-Vietnam Business Forum at the invitation of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industries, saying Iran has a share of $367 million in the $148 billion Vietnamese market and the share of the southeastern Asia country from the $78 billion Iranian market is only $18 million.

Shafei invited a delegation from the Vietnam chamber of commerce to visit Tehran and announced that a joint Iran-Vietnam chamber of commerce will be formed within three months.

Iran Banking Iran-Vietnam trade