According to Tran Kim Chung, Portugal’s Honorary Consul General in Vietnam, who is also President of CT Group, export turnover in 2012 between the two countries grew by 10 percent over 2011.

Two-way trade exceeded the US$170 million mark last year. Vietnam’s exports accounted for 64 percent of the figure, meaning the country continues to maintain its export surplus to the Portuguese market as it has over recent years.

Jorge says in the world list of goods suppliers to the Portuguese market, Vietnam moved up to 45th position in 2011, from 64th in 2007. Conversely, a significant volume of Portuguese products has been sold in Vietnam.

Portugal’s key exports to Vietnam included mechanical engineering products (34 percent), fibre and fibre cloth (34 percent), farm products (10 percent), and chemicals (5 percent), but remained low in value.

Jorge says Portugal has established strong relations with many Asian countries including Vietnam over the years. However, since the boom years of trade exchange between Vietnam and Portugal under French rule, bilateral trade turnover has declined rapidly.

Over the past decade, the Portuguese Government has acknowledged the crucial role of ASEAN member countries in Asia and has strengthened relations with them, especially with Vietnam in various fields, diplomatic, economic, cultural and social.

In the meantime, Portugal has also paid attention to promoting trade exchanges in Europe and other parts of the world.

Portugal shares certain similarities with Vietnam in the geographical and cultural fields. With a millennia of experience in marine-based economic development, it is keen to boost cooperation with Vietnam in sea port exploration.

Chung describes Portugal as one of potential markets for cheap goods in the EU. Most products

sold in Portugal are always 1.5- 2 times cheaper than those of the same trademarks consumed in other EU nations.

Over the years, there have been regular exchanges of business delegations between Vietnam and Portugal to seek investment and trade cooperation.

At a recent meeting between Vietnamese and Portuguese entrepreneurs, Nguyen Tuan Hai, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce of Industry (VCCI)’s International Relations Department, called for greater efforts to lift economic and trade cooperation between the two countries to a higher level for the benefit of sustainable growth.

Since the establishment of ambassadorial-level diplomatic ties in 1975, Vietnam has always attached great importance to boosting cooperative relations with Portugal, Chung says.

However, he notes, two-way trade exchange remains relatively modest and many business areas have not yet been fully exploited.

Since early last year, the Portuguese Honorary Consul General to Vietnam has organized investment promotion conferences in both Lisbon and Porto.

The Portuguese government is currently offering incentives for Vietnamese investors to do business in Portugal and is considering granting Portuguese nationality to Vietnamese businesspeople qualified for the Golden Residence Permit.

Vietnamese businesspeople operating with the Portuguese market will have the chance to gain access to over 250 million Portuguese-speaking consumers throughout Europe.

Radio Voice Of Vietnam - January 14, 2013