In addition, it requires great efforts from the government and businesses of both nations to ensure that trading ties reach a higher level.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the total trade turnover in 2018 between the two countries surged by 6.08 per cent to US$218.3 million in comparison with 2017.
Trade turnover between the two nations increased 19.5 per cent to US$261 million last year in comparison with 2018’s figures. With two-way trade still below US$300 million annually, there remains plenty of room for the development of trading ties between the two countries over the course of the coming years.
There are several factors causing the two-way trade turnover not to be in line with expectations. According to Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Deputy Director of VIETRADE's Export Promotion Center, the biggest issue is the legal environment which has undergone some improvements but still lacks co-operative agreements in banking, customs, and tourism.
Andritoiu MiHai, President of The Association China-Romania for the Promotion of International Trade and Economy (AFPICE), said these limitations can be attributed to cultural differences that exist between the two countries.
Currently, Romanian businesses are only keen to export to markets within the EU, with 85 per cent of the Eastern European country’s trade turnover being with EU member states.
Elsewhere, the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted that the economies of both countries share many supplements. Romania can be considered a potential market for many of Vietnam’s strongest products such as tropical fruit, seafood, coffee, cashew nut, electric and electronics equipment, wood products, garment and textile, footwear, fibre, and construction materials.
In addition, the export of labour from Vietnam to the Eastern European nation has also seen huge opportunities for stronger development as Romania has an increasing demand for human resources in the field of production and business.
Moreover, the Eastern European country has many advantageous export products to Vietnam, including pharmaceuticals, food, machinery, and electrical equipment.
In order to help firms from both sides to seize these opportunities for future co-operation, Thuy believes that the two nations should speed up negotiations when it comes to the signing of co-operative agreements in the field of banking, tourism, and customs, whilst both sides should continue to exchange high-level visits to boost trade, investment, and labour export activities in the near future.
Simultaenously, both sides should attempt to take advantage of the mechanism of the Vietnam – Romania Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation as a way of promoting trade, investment co-operation, and removing the difficulties for businesses whilst also facilitating businesses’ market surveys and participation at trade fairs and exhibitions.
Enterprises also expressed their desire that relevant ministries and agencies should be active in organising seminars, and strengthening trade promotion activities to provide information on markets and and partners, thus helping firms gain further insights into the market and introduce their products.
Andritoiu MiHai stated that Romania has also paid special attention to the reduction of trade deficit with Vietnam by diversifying the Eastern European nation’s export commodities, noting that Romania is likely to attend the Vietnam Expo 2020 this April.
He emphasised that Romania is also keen on importing Vietnam’s advantageous products in fields such as information technology, oil, and gas.
He added that the Eastern European country is also interested in strengthening bilateral dialogues and diversifying co-operation for mutual benefits, noting that both sides need to exchange points of view when it comes to identifying new opportunities for future economic co-operation.
The AFPICE President underlined the importance of the Protocol signed in Bucharest on October 4, 2019, at the 16th session of the Vietnam-Romania Joint Committee on economic co-operation, putting forward the view that businesses should be encouraged to use their initiatives towards stepping up bilateral co-operation.
As a means of intensifying economic ties, Romania also pays close attention to ways in which to increase the South East Asian nation’s investment in Romania. Up until October 31, Vietnam’s investment in the Eastern European nation had reached US$4.96 million, ranking 69th among the nations investing in Romania.
Romania’s Ministry of Economy, Energy Sector and Business Environment has acted as a bridge instructing potential foreign investors to do business in the country.
Andritoiu MiHai said Romania has invited several Vietnamese companies to invest in the country and will work to ensure that these businesses are treated in a fair and transparent manner in comparison with their rivals.
The AFPICE representative expressed his desire that once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement takes effect, it will serve as a broader legal economic corridor to bolster economic co-operation as the trade pact is expected to raise overall trade turnover and investment between the two nations to an all-time high.