This is a remarkable result in the dismal global economic situation at present, said Tran Bac Ha, president of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Myanmar (AVIM) and chairman of Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

AVIM will draft an action plan with an aim to raise the two-way trade to US$500 million and Vietnam’s outbound investment in Myanmar to some US$1 billion by 2015, Ha told the press on the occasion of the visit of President Truong Tan Sang to Myanmar on November 30.

He said 11 Vietnamese enterprises had received licenses for doing business in Myanmar, while nearly 20 projects are being prepared for development in this country. This is markedly different to 2000, when bilateral trade and investment were still poor, with two-way trade staying at a mere US$35 million.

Vietnamese enterprises started investing in Myanmar in 2010, after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung paid a visit to this country in April 2010.

The joint statement between Vietnam and Myanmar signed on this occasion determined 12 priority sectors for economic cooperation. They are agriculture, agro-industrial crops, aquaculture, banking-finance, aviation, telecommunications, oil and gas, mineral, electrical equipment manufacturing, automobile assembly, construction, trade and investment cooperation.

“At the Vietnam-Myanmar Investment Promotion Forum 2010, Vietnamese enterprises registered 17 projects worth a combined US$600 million. So far, four projects have been granted investment certificates and one project will get its license soon with total pledged capital of nearly US$350 million,” Ha said.

“Vietnamese firms have deployed good projects such as Hanoi-Yangon and HCMC-Yangon air routes of Vietnam Airlines, the oil and gas exploration and exploitation project of Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and the realty project of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group,” he added.

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein in early November approved a new foreign investment law, giving hope for stronger investment in this country after decades of isolation.

Several important agreements were signed during the recent visit of President Truong Tan Sang to Myanmar. They include a cooperation agreement between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Myanmar counterpart, a memorandum on information exchange between the two central banks, and a memorandum on oil and gas cooperation between PVN and Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy.

By Thanh Long - The Saigon Times Daily - December 5,2012