Vietnam and Russia agreed to expand the production of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam on the sidelines of Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Russia.

Although Vietnam already manufactures the Sputnik V vaccine, this latest deal will increase current production rates as well as produce the Sputnik Light vaccine (the vaccine that only requires a single injection instead of the usual two-dose regimen).

The agreement was signed during a visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Russia on November 29 to December 3 between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s Binnopharm Group, Vietnam’s T&T Group, and the operator of the first Vietnamese-Russian industrial park, Deep C Russia. The RDIF will provide comprehensive support for technology transfer and quality checks and to ensure the Vietnamese-produced vaccines meet international standards.

An initial investment of around US$60-US$70 million will enable the technical implementation of the project to begin in early 2022 before full-fledged production starts in early 2023. The facility is expected to produce some 40 million doses of the two-component vaccine per year.

On September 24, 2021, one of Vietnam’s leading pharmaceutical companies, VABIOTECH, successfully produced its first batch of Sputnik V vaccines. The test batch was also sent to the Gamaleya Center, the Russian institute where they are developed, to ensure it met quality standards.

The company expects to produce 5 million doses per month before increasing to 100 million doses per year going forward.

Vietnam and Russia aim to increase two-way trade by 15 times from the current US$5 billion with diplomatic relations reaching 70 years in 2021.

The modest trade value is set to increase as more businesses take advantage of the Vietnam- Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) free trade zone (FTA). The EAEU includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia and has a combined population of some 187 million people and US$5 trillion in GDP. Vietnam was the first ASEAN member to enter an agreement with the EAEU with Singapore being the second.

Vietnamese duties on EAEU products will be reduced to one percent from 10 percent by 2025, while the EAEU’s average will also reduce to two percent from 9.7 percent by the same year.

Moreover, Vietnam’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) through its association with ASEAN can provide opportunities for Russian goods and services to over 2 billion consumers in Asia.

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This article was first published by VietnamBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected]

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