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Trade in focus as Rouhani starts Asia visit

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) attends a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi, Oct. 6, 2016. (Photo by IRNA)

President Hassan Rouhani, on a key visit to Asia, says Iran and Vietnam have decided to increase bilateral trade volume fivefold to over $2 billion per year.

Rouhani made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang in the capital Hanoi on Thursday.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday and was accorded a detailed official welcome by his Vietnamese counterpart.  

The visit to Vietnam is the first leg of a Southeast Asian tour which will also take Rouhani to Malaysia and Thailand.

During the press conference, Rouhani said huge grounds exist for economic and trade cooperation between Tehran and Hanoi as he invited Vietnamese companies to invest in Iran’s energy sector.

Rouhani further voiced the Islamic Republic's preparedness to export oil, petrochemical products as well as technical and engineering services to Vietnam.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (R) and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang inspect the guard of honor during an official welcoming ceremony in Hanoi, Oct. 6, 2016. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran and Vietnam, he said, have close views on major international issues, adding the two countries seek peace and stability in East Asia as well as the Middle East.

The two presidents also said Tehran and Hanoi are against violence and extremism and believe that all crises must be resolved through dialog.

The two sides then signed several agreements, overseen by Presidents Rouhani and Quang.

Iran opened an embassy in Hanoi in 1991 and Vietnam opened its embassy in Tehran in 1997. They established relations in 1973 and since then the two countries have increased political and economic cooperation through exchange of visits by senior officials from both sides.

Trade exchanges between Iran and Vietnam reached $300 million in 2013 from $80 million in 2010. Those transactions currently stand at $350 million, meaning the two countries have an arduous task to hit the $2 billion mark. 

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