Signatories to the MoU were Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Guinea-Bissau‘s Secretary of State for Trade Ibraima Djaló.
Vietnam and Guinea-Bissau established diplomatic ties in 1973 and they signed an agreement on cultural, economic, scientific and technological and commercial cooperation in 1994.
However, two-way trade remains modest, with Vietnam slipping into deficit. Vietnam mainly exports rice and cement to Guinea-Bissau, imports raw cashew nuts and steel scraps.
Thoa quoted statistics saying bilateral trade bounced back in 2013, with Vietnamese exports to Guinea-Bissau reaching US$8 million in the first nine months of 2013, double the 2012 amount.
Vietnam also imported US$34.2 million worth of Guinea-Bissau products, with raw cashew nuts accounting for almost 97%.
Ibraima Djalo said trade and industrial cooperation between the two countries have yet to match their potential due to geographical distance and lack of information about markets and partners.
Vietnam and Guinea-Bissau have not previously inked cooperation agreements, especially in the field of economy, trade, industry and investment. Therefore, the signing of MoU is a significant legal foundation for cooperation between the two countries, he said.
At a previous meeting, Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Ibraima Djalo also discussed measures to strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties, such as completing the legal framework and creating a favorable environment for the two business communities to conduct exchange activities and establish partnerships.
They said the two countries need to share information on business and investment opportunities, and lists of international exhibitions and import and export companies, enabling their businesses to boost trade within the framework of cooperation between the French-speaking countries of the Mekong river region and the West and Central African countries.
Guinea-Bissau is a small country in West Africa, covering 36,120 sq.km. and its population is about 1.6 million.
Export turnover of Guinea-Bissau reached US$139.8 million in 2012 and its major exports are cashew nuts, fish, seafood, and timber.