Iran says it is ready to expand trade ties with Vietnam and specifically supply the country with steel and crude oil.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, on a state visit to Hanoi, told Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that both countries have yet to exploit considerable opportunities that exist for them to boost their relations.
Rouhani emphasized that the expansion of relations with Southeast Asian countries, and specifically Vietnam, has always been a top priority for Iran.
He said Vietnam can become a base for Iran’s trade activities in the region. To the same effect, the Iranian president added, Vietnam can access a market of 400 million people through Iran.
Rouhani said the removal of sanctions against Iran has already prepared the grounds for the two countries to enhance their economic ties. He added that Tehran and Hanoi need to strengthen their banking relations first in order to facilitate any step toward the expansion of commercial relations.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phuc, for his part, emphasized that his country is determined to increase the level of trade with Iran to above $2 billion.
He added that Hanoi wants to expand relations with Iran in all areas and that is prepared to move toward the establishment of a mutual free trade mechanism between the two countries.
Rouhani arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday on the first leg of tour to Southeast Asia that will later take him to Malaysia and Thailand.
In March, Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang visited Iran to discuss the expansion of mutual ties.
Rouhani had told his Vietnamese peer Sang when he was in Tehran that the Islamic Republic is ready to increase trade with Vietnam from the current level of $350 million to above $2 billion within the next five years.