Trade promotion programs helped Vietnam cross the US$200 billion mark for the first time in the export of goods and commodities, according to 2017 data presented by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) at an April 24 forum in Hanoi on export promotion. The US$214 billion exports reflected a growth of 21.2 percent compared to 2016.
VIETRADE data showed that exports to ASEAN markets rose by 24.2 percent, reaching US$21.68 billion, while there was a surge of 61.5 percent to US$35.46 billion in China, and a rise of 14.8 percent to US$16.8 billion in Japan.
The Vietnam Export Promotion Forum 2018 brought together officials and business representatives to discuss how to build on this success and sustain the export momentum. Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Department, reported that some 110 Asian and African countries and territories with high import demand are potential markets for Vietnamese exporters.
Participants were advised to focus on two key export groups - agro-forestry-fishery and especially cocoa and cassava, and industrial products with a focus on garments and textiles and steel products.
In addition to expanding new markets, exporters were also urged to improve the quality of Vietnamese goods. However, participants at the forum expressed concern about export sustainability. One of them was Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Deputy Chairman of the Can Tho City People’s Committee, who said the southern region, was famous for rice exports but these have reached saturation point in terms of scale of production and export. Unless the city develops new exports, it risks a sharp economic decline when the rice market adversely changes, he warned. For many years, Can Tho has been struggling to build geographical indications for its rice products, and it needs support from state management agencies to achieve its target in order to position and brand its rice in foreign markets, he said.
Also hampering the southern city’s exports is lack of business connections with foreign partners and customers, partly due to the low financial assistance for participation in trade fairs and exhibitions, which discourages small to medium-sized enterprises from attending them.
VIETRADE Director Vu Ba Phu said Vietnamese export promotion has for the past decade included the National Branding Program, but the program’s positioning values are no longer appropriate. VIETRADE will work with relevant organizations and professionals to find a new direction with relevant positioning values for the program, Phu said.
Export promotion will be carried out by sector, group of businesses and group of products. Adding prestige and value to Vietnamese exports is the program’s core target, Phu said.
Economist Vo Tri Thanh suggested developing export promotion based on a digital platform and using information from Vietnamese trade counselors abroad.
|Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), said the Law on Foreign Trade Management provides detailed regulations on foreign trade development measures, based on which the Ministry of Industry and Trade will formulate specific policies and renovate trade promotion methods to better support export activities.|
Viet Nga & Pham Tiep