Promoting the role of overseas Vietnam trade offices

10:22 | 23/12/2013 Trade

(VEN) - Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang when addressing the 2013 Commercial Counselor Conference organized in Hanoi from December 16-31 said that, “Despite the global economic recession, Vietnam’s exports have achieved outstanding results thanks to close guidance of the government, businesses’ efforts and positive contributions from overseas Vietnam trade offices. This force has played an important role in promoting exports and helped the country integrate into the regional and global economy.”

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang speaks at the 2013 Commercial Counselor Conference

Elevating Vietnamese goods

In the context of the global economic recession, export-import activities have actually become a solution to overcome difficulties for businesses. A strong increase in export turnover have resolved problems in terms of production and consumption of goods and contributed to strengthening Vietnamese goods’ position in the eyes of foreign consumers. To achieve these remarkable results, overseas Vietnam trade offices have made great efforts. Overseas Vietnam trade offices have provided information on markets, created favorable conditions for businesses to look for partners and helped promote exports. In addition, overseas Vietnam trade offices have played an important role in linking domestic businesses to foreign companies, contributing to creating favorable opportunities for exports.

Export turnover in 2013 reached US$133.5 billion, an increase of 16.6 percent compared to 2012, surpassing the target of 10 percent set out by the National Assembly while import turnover reached an estimated US$133.8 billion. As a result, trade deficit in 2013 totaled about US$300 million, equal to 0.25 percent of total export turnover. This figure was lower compared to a target set out by the National Assembly and the government. In particular, the structure of export goods in 2013 also dramatically shifted from mineral resources to products in the processing industry. Of which, many products have high technology content such as phones, components and computers. In addition to a strong increase in sales of traditional products such as garments and textiles, leather and shoes, 2013 also marked the appearance and a strong growth of new products such as components, phones and computers. These products reached high export turnover among major export items. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said that in addition to major agricultural products such as rice, coffee, tea and seafood, foreign consumers have paid special attention to Vietnam’s electric products and the creative industry. These products have helped Vietnam reach high export turnover in 2013. Overseas Vietnam trade offices have significantly contributed to a strong increase in export turnover.

Together with the persification of export goods, export markets have been expanded. Instead of depending on traditional markets such as the US, the EU and Japan, Vietnamese goods have been exported to new markets like Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Many trade agreements were signed in 2013 such as a framework agreement on trade and investment between Vietnam and Haiti, including a Memorandum of Understanding on rice trade with a content that Haiti commits to purchase 250,000-300,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice per year, starting since April 2013 and a Memorandum of Understanding on rice trade with Comoros with a content that Vietnam provides 60,000 tonnes of rice per year to Comoros from August 2013 to December 2015. Although these countries have not yet imported a large volume of Vietnamese rice, in the context of economic difficulties in traditional markets, these small markets could be seen as an opportunity for businesses to increase exports. In addition, small markets often have fewer trade barriers and lower requirements on product quality compared to large markets. Vietnamese businesses should take advantage of an opportunity to promote exports.

Together with such results, overseas Vietnam trade offices have contributed to improving Vietnamese goods’ position in the eyes of foreign consumers, creating a spectacular achievement for export-import activities in 2013.

Significantly contributing to foreign economic relations

Overseas Vietnam trade offices have not only contributed to increasing exports and expanding the global market for Vietnamese goods but also played an important role in promoting foreign economic relations. With the role of an important foreign economic channel, overseas Vietnam trade offices have contributed to deepening strategic relationships to foreign countries. In addition, overseas commercial counselors also have played a major role in resolving technical barriers to Vietnam’s exports. A movement on protecting the domestic market in the world is promoted due to an economic crisis. Therefore, Vietnam has become a victim of commercial litigations and technical barriers, especially when Vietnam has become a leading exporter in some commodities.

Vietnam Trade Office in the US Minister Counselor Dao Tran Nhan said that the US is the large and perse market and remains Vietnam’s potential market. However, together with strict and complex legal system, influenced by interest groups and characterized by political impacts, trading with the US must be political trade. In trade relations between the two countries, lawsuits against dumping and subsidy and administrative reviews to Vietnam’s exports have still arisen. Therefore, Vietnam Trade Office in the US has to cope with lawsuits against dumping and subsidy and overcome difficulties for Vietnam’s exports.

A typical example was related to shrimp. After a long period participating in lawsuits against dumping and subsidy of the United States International Trade Commission, in September 2013, the shrimp sector received two important decisions, including the final result of the seventh administrative review in terms of anti-dumping for Vietnamese shrimp in the period from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012. According to the result, all 33 shrimp export businesses participating in the review were acknowledged antidumping in the US market. In addition, in the end of September 2013, the United States International Trade Commission vetoed the imposition of the US Department of Commerce (DOC) for Vietnamese shrimp. Thanks to these two important decisions, shrimp has recorded outstanding export growth and become a major export item. Shrimp export turnover in 2013 reached US$2.8 billion, an increase of 27 percent compared to the same period last year.

 Overseas Vietnam trade offices have done well the role as an information hub to advise the government on economic trends. In the trade agreement negotiations, particularly with major partners, overseas Vietnam trade offices have positively contributed to achieving the best results for the country.

Expecting new achievements

Together with such remarkable results, expectations from the government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and businesses to overseas Vietnam trade offices remain large. Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam directed, “Overseas Vietnam trade offices in 2014 need to advise the government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and businesses on exports and international integration.”

With the main tasks of linking domestic businesses to foreign companies and focusing on commercial activities, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said that in addition to traditional markets, overseas Vietnam trade offices need to look for new markets. “To sign a Memorandum of Understanding on rice trade with the Philippines with a volume of several hundreds of thousands of tonnes, Vietnam struggled and consumed a lot of time. However, with new and small markets such as Haiti and Comoros, the country had many advantages. Therefore, many small markets will bring greater economic efficiency compared to one large market,” Minister Vu Huy Hoang said.

In addition to focusing on trade promotion programs, overseas Vietnam trade offices need to overcome difficulties for cooperation projects in the fields of the industry and trade sector. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said that in terms of a cooperation project between Russia and Vietnam on the construction of a nuclear power plant, Vietnam Trade Office in Russia must understand difficulties in terms of policies and law to timely inform the country. This role of overseas Vietnam trade offices should be strengthened in the near future.

In terms of businesses, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Secretary General Pham Thi Thu Hang said that overseas Vietnam trade offices in recent times had accomplished their tasks in the implementation of trade promotion programs. In the near future, this work is hoped to be better implemented, contributing to supporting export businesses in the best manner.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang emphasized, “Commercial counselors must improve their professional skills, a capacity to forecast and analyze and promote solidarity. If these works are implemented, the country has the right to hope for a strong change in commercial affair work.”/.

By Phuong Lan

Theo ven.vn