Germany sees strong economic prospects in Vietnam

(dpa) - The German government sees strong economic potential in Vietnam, Economics Minister Michael Glos said Thursday after meeting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Berlin.

"I see outstanding opportunities if the pace of reform in Vietnam is maintained," Glos said.

Glos and Dung opened the seventh meeting of the German-Vietnamese dialogue forum. The forum was set up in 1996 to discuss political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was meeting the Vietnamese prime minister later Thursday.

The German side is particularly interested in an underground rail system being built in Ho Chi Minh City for an estimated 800 million euros (1.2 billion dollars).

German engineering company Siemens is aiming to secure contracts in providing signals and control systems.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Vietnam during a tour of the region, expressing confidence German companies would be involved in the project.

Germany is Vietnam's largest trading partner within the European Union, with mutual trade rising 40 per cent in 2007 to 3.4 billion euros.

The South-East Asian country is one of the fastest growing in the region, recording economic growth of 8.2 per cent in 2006, although off a low base.

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