(dpa) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a deal Monday to export over 1,000 tractors to Vietnam, one of a series of agreements enhancing cooperation between the former Soviet-bloc allies during a two-day state visit.
"We are willing to cooperate with Vietnam on all fields," Lukashenko said, including education, health, and ultimately military techniques.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Minh Triet said trade between Vietnam and Belarus last year reached some 75 million dollars, far short of its potential.
Triet called Belarus a "traditional friend" that had supported Vietnam in its struggle for independence and economic development. The two countries have always cooperated and supported each other on international forums.
"If any force hinders the legitimate cooperation between the peoples of the two countries, we will fight to maintain cooperation and close unity," Triet said.
After signing a joint communiqué, the two presidents witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements on customs, agriculture, accounting, tourism, culture, politics, banking and energy.
"Our ministers are determined to leave Vietnam with signed contracts," said Lukashenko. He said the export of the tractors, manufactured by Belarus's state-owned Minsk Tractor Works, would probably exceed the entire volume of two-way trade between the countries in 2007.
The tractor works are one of the largest employers in Belarus, with a share of some 8 to 10 per cent of the world tractor market. Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture Nguyen Ngoc Thuat said Minsk tractors were cheaper than those manufactured in other countries and were of good quality.
Lukashenko said Belarus is eager to meet Vietnamese demand for diesel engines, and to open a factory to produce engines in Vietnam.
Triet accepted an invitation from Lukashenko to visit Belarus, and said it would be arranged as soon as possible.