Sweden-Vietnam trade growing, but potential remains untapped

09:22 | 03/03/2020 Cooperation

(VEN) - Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Sweden has maintained a stable growth rate. Vietnam has moved ahead to 24th place among the 30 major exporters to Sweden, surpassing the Republic of Korea, India, Hong Kong (China), Thailand and other ASEAN countries.

sweden vietnam trade growing but potential remains untapped

Steady growth

General Department of Vietnam Customs data show that trade between Vietnam and Sweden reached about US$1.56 billion in 2019. This included US$1.19 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Sweden, up 2.4 percent compared with 2018, and US$372.52 million worth of imports from this market, up 8.1 percent. These results yielded a trade surplus of more than US$812 million for Vietnam.

Some Vietnamese exports to Sweden recorded high turnover in 2019, such as phones and accessories with nearly US$617 million, and garments and textiles with US$78.3 million. Last year also witnessed a strong breakthrough of some exports to Sweden, such as steel products with nearly US$64 million (up 201.7 percent), and machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts with US$47.7 million (up 33.3 percent).

Among US$372.52 million worth of imports from Sweden, Vietnam spent US$123.4 million for machinery, equipment, tools and spare parts, US$59.3 million for pharmaceuticals, nearly US$22.1 million for all kinds of paper, and nearly US$30 million for iron and steel. Swedish investors currently operate 67 projects, worth a total US$364 million, in Vietnam.

Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Mawe said potential for cooperation on trade and investment between the two countries remains untapped. Various well-known Swedish brands have invested in Vietnam, creating several hundred thousand jobs and promoting technology transfer, Mawe said.

At a reception for the new envoy in late January, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed that current trade and investment was not commensurate with the two countries’ potential and urged the ambassador to work on boosting bilateral trade and investment.

Recommendations for export businesses

Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Sweden is expected to grow due to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) poised to come into force. However, to promote exports to the Swedish market, Vietnamese businesses need to pay special attention to the traceability of goods, corporate social responsibility, environmental protection and business ethics, in addition to ensuring product quality.

Sweden has very strict regulations on the responsibilities of exporters. In addition, businesses must comply with EU regulations on packaging and labeling.

To create favorable conditions for Vietnamese exports to Sweden, the Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden has provided recommendations for export businesses. Accordingly, for example, product samples need to apply for licenses to be imported into the Swedish market the same as commercial products. To simplify procedures, Sweden has agreed to grant an all-in import license valid for up to six months so that exporters do not have to apply for separate licenses for each sample consignment.

To maintain sustainable exports to the Swedish market, businesses need to gain access to distribution chains. Through this market, Vietnamese goods can also be distributed in Northern Europe.

Nguyen Huong