Viet Nam, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus plan free trade agreement

HA NOI - The first meeting of a working group to prepare a free-trade agreement between Viet Nam and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was held here yesterday.

The agreement is expected to bring benefits to an area covering 20 million square kilometres, with a population of 253 million people and a GDP of US$1,505 billion.

The head of the Vietnamese delegation, Dang Hoang Hai, Deputy Director General of the European Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the group would focus on the terms of references.

"These must cover the impacts of the agreement, including difficulties and challenges during negotiations as well as specific tasks for each member of the working group," said Hai.

"It will take time for members to conduct research and collect data before coming up with their impact assessment," continued Hai.

He expressed confidence that the agreement would bring benefits to Viet Nam and the Russian Federation, particularly in the fields of customs duties, investment services, business and trade.

It is forecast two-way trade will reach $10 billion in the years following the signing of the agreement.

Viet Nam's main exports to the Russian Federation are agricultural products. In turn, it imports fertilisers, oil, gas, energy, heavy industry products and a utomobiles.

The Alliance of Customs from Russia, Belarus and Kazarkhstan is led by Ms E E Mairova, Deputy Director of the Department for Trade Negotiation at the Russian Economics Ministry. - VNS


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