Turkey and Vietnam have announced aims to double trading volume between the two countries from US$2bn to US$4bn by 2020.

During a trip to Vietnam, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim also announced the two countries’ plan to initiate negotiations for a free trade agreement as soon as possible, noting that Turkish investment in Vietnam in the year so far has tallied up to US$700mn.

Accompanied by a large Turkish business delegation, the prime minister said the two parties have had some productive meetings on a wide range of topics, including transportation, education, maritime affairs and defense.

According to the Turkish ministry of economy, in 2016, Turkey’s exports to Vietnam totalled US$234mn, while imports from Vietnam were worth US$1.7bn.

Turkey’s main exports include fruits and nuts, cotton, boiler and machinery, equipment components and spare parts. Imports from Vietnam include electric appliances, boiler machinery equipment and spare parts, artificial and synthetic fibre.

Turkey recently became a sectoral partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), and hopes to boost its ties and trade in the region.

“With the new step, our political and institutional relations with the countries in the region will further develop as well as bilateral trade volume. Also the partnership will create important opportunities for Turkish businessmen,” said foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the time.

Asean, which was established in 1967, includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.