Addressing a conference on trade and investment opportunities in Iran and Vietnam, Mohsen Jalalpour said the figures are not befitting with respect to the two countries’ large economies and their history of relations.
He noted that the Islamic Republic’s Look East strategy will be continued with full force now that the international sanctions against Iran have been lifted and that Iran’s friendly countries enjoy particular importance and priority in its Look East policy.
Vietnam enjoys common features with Iran in political and cultural fields and is among Tehran’s priorities for mutual cooperation, Jalalpour said.
The two great nations of Iran and Vietnam have a long history of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles, but the thing that hinders the expansion of bilateral ties is that their economic actors know very little of the capabilities of each other, he said.
Jalalpour said the visit by the Vietnamese economic delegation to Iran is a good step in the right direction.
Vietnam's membership in major economic blocks such as ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and TPP (the Trans-Pacific Agreement) doubles the importance of the country in Iran's Look East policy, Jalalpour said.
According to the head of Iran’s Chamber, Vietnam is an active and effective member of ASEAN providing a good opportunity for export of Iranian goods to the Economic Association, as Vietnam is considered the fifth largest economy in the world.
He also noted that Vietnam's membership in TPP provides the possibility of re-export of Iranian goods to the US and Canada with very low tariffs. In addition, the unique economic position of Iran that is located at the crossroads of global communications provides valuable opportunity for Vietnamese to gain access to a huge market of 400 million in an affluent area.
The Iranian official stressed that Iran is a safe and secure country, and is the most economical path to CIS countries of Afghanistan, Turkey and northern Iraq.
Head of Iran Chamber added that Iranians can be a quality choice with reasonable prices in areas of contracting, engineering and industry for Vietnam's growing economy. Iranian firms enjoy favorable conditions in marine works, oil and gas projects, petrochemicals, urban development and water and drainage.
The geographical positions of the two countries justify joint investment in fields of clothing and textile industries.
He said setting the target of bilateral trade at two billion US dollars in a five-year horizon is not out of reach and can be materialized. Iran is among the leading producing countries in the world in products that Vietnam imports such as oil derivatives and tar, petrochemicals, food, chemical powders, iron, steel and copper with an approximate value of $30 billion.
According to him, Vietnam can meet parts of Iranian market needs especially in the field of clothing and textiles, electronic equipment and machineries.
According to Vietnam’s Head of Chamber of Commerce, the value of Tehran-Hanoi bilateral trade had been halved during the past five years declining to $85 million per year.