TEHRAN (Iran News) – Annual trade between Iran and Vietnam reached $350 million in the previous Iranian calendar (which ended in March 2019), witnessing a 100 percent growth year-on-year.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Mostafa Mousavi, the head of Iran-Vietnam Joint Chamber of Commerce, added annual trade between the two countries stood at $162 million in the year to March 2018.
Due to the re-imposition of Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran and the obstacles they have created, he regretted, the figure declined during the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 21-September 22, 2019), predicting that annual trade between the two countries would suffer an up to 10 percent decrease by March 19, 2020.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and re-imposed Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.
Despite the problems US sanctions have caused, Mousavi expressed optimism that trade between the two countries can reach $1 billion in 12 months if they remove obstacles to their monetary transactions and banking relations, as they have appropriate capacities for expanding ties with each other.
“Although efforts are underway by the two countries to resolve problems besetting their banking transactions, our main emphasis is on barter under the present circumstances.”
Now that Tehran is under Washington’s sanctions, he added, cooperation with Vietnam can technologically help significantly improve the efficiency of Iranian production lines.
Describing Vietnam as East Asia’s trade hub, Iran Mousavi said that since the start of the trade war between China and the US, European states have concentrated on Vietnam and have established their technological and production bases in the Southeast Asian country.
At present, most of the world’s major cellphone and auto companies have set up production lines in Vietnam, Mousavi said.
Statistical analyses show that Vietnam has had the fastest economic growth (over seven percent) in the world over the past decade. In addition, the country posted the fastest growth among southeast Asian states in 2018.
According to a report by Bangkok Post, the Southeast Asian state’s GDP rose more than seven percent in 2018, which has been unprecedented in the past 10 years.
Since 1990, Vietnam has experienced, on average, a seven percent growth each year, managing to be the second country in the world, following China, to have posted a significant average annual economic growth.
Being among the world’s emerging economies, in case the country manages to maintain its average economic growth at its present level for 10 years, it can overtake China.
Regretting that Iranian firms are yet to develop sufficient knowledge about Vietnam’s economy, Mousavi described as relatively good the historical background of economic cooperation between the two countries.
“Most Iranians know Vietnam for its war with the US or the high-quality sports shoes produced in the country.”
However, he noted, the truth is that at present, Vietnam has much higher economic capacities compared to many other countries, making it a suitable option for Iran to expand economic cooperation with.
“Despite being a communist state, Vietnam has pursued an open economic policy over the past years and has made very good technological and economic advances.”
He said currently, the US is the target of 21 percent of Vietnam’s exports, which is indicative of the high quality and, at the same time, reasonable prices of Vietnamese products.
Mousavi added high-quality motherboards and other computer systems constitute the major part of overseas sales from Vietnam.
The country also has a high technological capability and broad background in manufacturing food production lines, he said.
Vietnam is almost an agricultural country, with such products constituting close to 37 percent of its annual exports.
Rice, coffee beans and spices are among the agricultural products exported by Vietnam. The southeast Asian country is the world’s second-biggest exporter of coffee beans, following Brazil, meeting 20 percent of the global demand for the product.
Mousavi said this comes as Vietnam can be a lucrative market for Iran’s overseas sales of aquatic animals, dried fruits, pistachio, and almond.
He added exports of Iranian products to Vietnam will be economical only if the country lowers the preferential tariffs it imposes on imports from Iran.
“Vietnam sets high preferential tariffs on importing a large number of products from Iran. This reduces the competitiveness of Iranian goods in the Vietnamese market.”
Vietnam imposes a five percent preferential tariff on its pistachio purchases from the US; the tariff it imposes on importing the same product from Iran stands at 43 percent, he said.
He also said that the same thing holds true about Vietnam’s imports of date and almond from Iran, saying it can be resolved through negotiations between the two countries’ officials.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews