19:06 | 08/05/2015 Cooperation
(VEN) - With their outstanding advantages in many areas and experiences in global business, countries under the European Union (EU) have for years effectively supported Vietnam in building export development capacity and trade promotion via national, long-term projects and programs using advanced methods and world-class advisors.
Project VIE/61/94: Supporting trade promotion and export development in Vietnam
Funded by the governments of Switzerland and Sweden, the project was launched in June 2004 and was completed four years later. Vietnam achieved a number of important results from the project:
1. Proposed a national export development strategy based on the government’s strategy, export potential re-evaluation, and sectoral export strategies for selective product and service exports. During this period of time, the project focused on building sectoral export strategies (SES) for handicrafts, vegetables and fruits, plastics and interior wood furniture, and product design and development.
2. Set up a cost-effective trade development network, supported companies’ demand to export in a sustainable manner including a trade network, built the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency’s capacity in trade support and coordination, and built capacity of the overseas trade representatives (OTR).
3. Developed sustainable capacity (i.e. financial and professional capacity) of trade support institutions (TSI) and export businesses.
Program on building export competitiveness of Vietnamese small to medium-sized enterprises via the local trade promotion system
Switzerland has funded this official development assistance (ODA) project from 2013-2017 under the management of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency has acted as a national administrator. As a follow-up of Project VIE/61/94, the program aims to build international competitiveness of Vietnamese Small and Medium-sized Enterprises by increasing quality services of trade promotion institutions and trade support organizations at regional and provincial levels. As a result of the project, SMEs have effectively used trade development services provided by regional trade support networks. The program has created a favorable business environment for SMEs to promote their exports, while building capacity of trade promotion systems.
The program was launched nationwide focusing on several major cities and provinces which were chosen according to the criteria including trade support capacity, sustainable export development potential, and their commitment to join the program. Three major centers were established in Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho.
After an agreement was signed between the governments of Vietnam and Switzerland, the program was kicked off in the three cities.
In the inaugural phase, the Program Management Board carried out basic research and shared their experiences with local partners in terms of new approaches to the program. The board focused on developing major ideas for the main phase of the program based on the research results reported by experts and local opinions.
The inaugural phase of the program lasted for 19 months including 16 months of operations and 3 months of transition to the main phase. Before entering the transitional phase, independent experts evaluated the whole inaugural phase of the program. The main phase officially started at the end of March 2015 and is slated to finish by May 2017.
The Program Management Board evaluated export potentials in December 2013 at national and regional levels. After that, they completed four reports on export potentials of the country, the north, the central region and the south in areas including agriculture, industry, fisheries, handicrafts and services. A workshop took place in 2014 to review these activities.
The program has recommended potential exports including handicrafts and services nationwide, green tea and litchis in the north, tunas and pepper in the central region, and fresh fruits and Tra fish in the south.
The program has also evaluated institutions and organizations including trade promotion centers, trade support organizations and SMEs in order to realize the situation, the role, tasks, abilities and strengths of each and every entity.
Export Coaching Program (ECP)
The program was developed by the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) of the Netherlands in association with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) in order to help businesses find ways to access the value chain in the food material sector and to export their products to Europe.
After the EU’s projects and programs are completed, Vietnam needs to transform the support from the EU and the international community to its own strength to reap success in international integration and development which should be seen first in the EU market.
Europe is obviously an attractive market with a population of more than 500 million compared with 300 million in the US. European consumers are interested in Vietnamese food which is considered to be delicious and healthy. However, to enter and stay in the European food material market, Vietnamese businesses must meet high requirements and adapt to changes in consumer taste, while competing with similar superior products which come from other countries. For this reason, food material businesses have placed much hope on the Export Coaching Program.
Through existing projects and programs, the EU wants to help Vietnamese businesses succeed in the European market. The connection between the EU’s support and Vietnam’s internal strengths has created particularities of these projects and programs which are considered as a good way to transfer capacity in making policies and plans, thinking, analyzing, choosing and acting in a professional and effective manner. Selected localities are Vietnam’s developed areas which have appropriate targets and favorable conditions for implementing the EU’s projects and programs.
By Nguyen Duy Nghia