HANOI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - China's Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on Monday pledged to further open the Chinese market to Vietnamese agricultural products, Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said, as the two countries seek to deepen trade ties.
China is Vietnam's largest trading partner and a vital source of imports for its manufacturing sector, but Vietnam's trade deficit with the world's second biggest economy has been widening.
"The Chinese market has huge demand and it welcomes quality farm produce from Vietnam," Wang told Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien during a working session in Hanoi, the ministry said in a statement on its website.
Wang said China would address Vietnam's trade proposals, including opening more border gates for goods, signing a rice trade framework agreement and facilitating the imports of Vietnamese lobsters, adding that exports of Vietnamese durian to China already neared $2 billion in the past 10 months.
The working session is also part of the preparation for "an upcoming high-profile visit", the statement said, without elaborating.
Reuters last month reported that Vietnamese and Chinese officials were preparing for a possible trip by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Hanoi. At the time, plans were for the trip to take place at the end of October or in early November. Three Hanoi-based diplomats subsequently said the visit was likely to be postponed to December.
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and China rose 5.5% last year to $175.5 billion, with shipments from China to Vietnam accounting for 67%, according to the ministry.