Mumbai: The Vietnamese government said on 5 July it was open to the idea of signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.
“We are ready to sign an FTA with India,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said while delivering the keynote address at India-Vietnam Business Forum meet here.
Inviting Indian industrialists to invest in Vietnam, Dung said his country would prove to be a safe and efficient destination for Indian investors.
Two-way trade between India and Vietnam has increased by 20-30% a year since 2001 and in recent months, major Indian conglomerates such as Essar and the Tata Group have invested in Vietnam.
Though India has become one of the top ten countries in terms of investment in Vietnam, there was still a lot of scope for economic relations to be strengthened further, he said.
“Despite these successes, cooperation has not been commensurate with the advantages and potential of the business communities of the two countries,” Dung said.
“We can do more in trade and investment for mutual benefit,” he said.
Another strength of the country was its 85 million strong population which constituted a huge market for investors. “More than 70% of our population is under 40 years of age,” Dung said.
The country was seeing high economic growth in the last few years and in 2006, its economy grew 8%, he said, adding that this year too, the growth would be over 8%.
In 2006, there was $10 billion foreign investment in Vietnam while in the first six months of this year, there has already been $5 billion investment, he said.
“We are here with a wish to do our utmost to strengthen and take our friendship and co-operation in all areas to a new high,” Dung said.