06:00 | 02/04/2021 Cooperation
(VEN) - Slovenia and Vietnam are complementary economies in the field of industrial production. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) with Slovenia being a signatory will bring opportunities for the two countries to increase bilateral trade.
An agricultural machinery manufacturing plant in Slovenia
In early March, the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia organized an online conference with the participation of 21 Vietnamese companies and 12 Slovenian firms to introduce each other’s markets and products and pave the way for future cooperation.
Izidor Krivec, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, said that Slovenia can cooperate with Vietnam in the field of machinery, equipment, industrial automation and logistics solutions. Some Slovenian companies are interested in Vietnam and want to join a delegation to visit the country this coming October to seek investment and business cooperation opportunities, he said.
Over the past six years, trade between Vietnam and Slovenia has almost tripled from US$125 million in 2014 to US$361 in 2020. In the first two months of this year, Vietnam’s exports to Slovenia reached US$56.5 million, up 38.8 percent compared with the same period of 2020. Major Vietnamese exports to this market include machinery, equipment, instruments and spare parts, computers, electronics products and components. These products account for 65-75 percent of Vietnam’s exports to Slovenia.
Although a small country with a population of just over two million, Slovenia provides substantial potential for Vietnamese trade. Toma- Kostanjevec, Acting Director of SPIRIT Slovenia, a business development agency of the Slovenian government, highlighted his country’s favorable geographic location, with the Port of Koper offering a gateway to the European market. Shipping goods via this port takes eight days less than transportation through ports of other north European countries, helping exporters save time and money.
Andrej Bostjancic, Director of SoftNET, a Slovenian information technology company that opened a representative office in Vietnam in 2014, said Vietnam is a vibrant market with a young, skilled workforce and political stability. The Vietnamese government’s foreign investment support policy has created favorable conditions for foreign companies to invest in this market, he added.
Taking advantage of EVFTA
Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia Le Dung said the potential of bilateral trade and investment is great. He believes Vietnam, a market of 97 million consumers, will offer investors a gateway to the ASEAN market with a population of more than 660 million. Many countries now consider Vietnam an ideal destination for the China Plus One business strategy, with EVFTA opening up significant opportunities for European companies in general, and those from Slovenia in particular.
The EVFTA took effect in August 2020, opening opportunities for Vietnam to promote cooperation with European countries.
Vu Ba Phu, Director of Vietrade, said the EVFTA offers opportunities for Slovenian companies to sell agro-forestry-fishery processing machinery to Vietnamese businesses. Slovenian companies can also seek partners to cooperate in manufacturing agricultural machinery in Vietnam, he added.
Tariff cuts under EVFTA for Vietnamese and Slovenian exports will help them expand market share in each other’s markets, as well as in other EU markets, thus promoting bilateral trade.
In order to tap the potential of bilateral trade, in the opinion of Vu Ba Phu, businesses should intensify trade promotion activities once the Covid-19 pandemic is controlled globally, and seriously abide by the EVFTA’s rules of origin.