15:22 | 06/07/2016 Trade
(VEN) - Vietnamese Goods Week events took place in France and Italy in early June. This was the third event of its kind in France and the first in Italy. The events were intended to boost Vietnamese exports to Europe.
Vietnamese goods on sale at a Casino supermarket, France
Penetrating French distribution channels
Since 2011 the Vietnamese Goods Week events have been organized through supermarket chains in France, Germany, and the Republic of Korea. Casino, one of France’s leading supermarket chains of the Casino Group was the first choice. The success of the first Vietnamese Goods Week held through Big C laid the foundation for events of this kind to take place in 2014 and 2016. Following these events, the value of Vietnamese goods exported via Casino increased rapidly, reaching US$20-30 million per year. The 2016 Vietnamese Goods Week in France presented a wide range of products such as agricultural, forest products, seafood, food, miscellaneous goods, fresh fruit, beverages, textiles and garments, electronic products, footwear, coffee, tea, spices, wood products, household utensils, and industrial products.
France has a strategic partnership with Vietnam. Nearly 400,000 Vietnamese people currently live, work, and study in France. This is an important factor helping promote the presence of Vietnamese goods in the French market. Another favorable condition is that Vietnamese products account for a majority of goods which are on sale in Big C Vietnam supermarkets - a former branch of the Casino Group, so the managers of these supermarkets are familiar with Vietnamese goods. This will bring opportunities for Vietnamese goods to penetrate Casino chains worldwide, including those in France.
Vietnamese Goods Week events have helped Vietnam export goods directly to Casino supermarkets in France, reducing costs spent on middlemen. This has meant Vietnamese goods in France could be sold at lower prices. The Casino Group currently distributes a range of Vietnamese goods such as fresh fruit, frozen spring rolls, rice, frozen shrimp, canned fruit, beverages, and garments.
Former Big C General Director Guillaume Seneclauze said although Casino had transferred Big C Vietnam, the group pledged to continue distributing Vietnamese goods via its supermarkets in Europe and the rest of the world.
During their recent trip to Europe, a delegation of Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) officials worked with Auchan, a leading retail group of France. Auchan purchases food and non-food products, according to its leadership. Major products it purchases from Asia include rice, fresh fruit, frozen food, garments, and footwear. Vietnam has advantages in exporting these products. Auchan highly appreciated the quality of Vietnamese products and affirmed it would increase imports from Vietnam. The group is increasing the percentage of supplies from Southeast Asian countries from four percent at present to 15 percent in the future. This will boost the sale of Vietnamese goods via Casino supermarkets and other European distribution channels.
Seeking opportunities from Italy
According to the MoIT’s European Market Department, during their trip to Europe, the MoIT delegation successfully organized a workshop at the headquarters of the Italian National Federation of Cooperatives (LegaCoop) in Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, to present made-in-Vietnam products in the Italian market. The workshop was held in association with the Vietnamese trade office and embassy in Italy, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, LegaCoop, and the Emilia-Romagna Government.
The delegation also held an exhibition to present some kinds of agricultural products, beverages, confectionery, handicrafts, electro-optical products, and business-to-business forums between Vietnamese exporters and the purchasing managers and leaders of Coop Italia and Conad, the two largest retail chains in Italy. The forums took place at the headquarters of Coop Italia and Conad. Participants exchanged business information and discussed cooperation opportunities.
LegaCoop currently consists of 12 million members throughout Italy, contributing nine percent to the country’s gross domestic product. Coop and Conad are leading Italian food retailers with respective market share of 20 and 12 percent, and annual sales of about €25 billion, accounting for one third of total sales in the Italian retail market.
Vietnam has maintained a continuous trade surplus with Italy for many years. Major Italian imports from Vietnam include telephones and components, textiles and garments, seafood, and coffee. However, last year’s bilateral trade of US$4.3 billion remained incommensurate with its real potential. The first Vietnamese Goods Week event in Italy and meetings between businesses of the two countries on this occasion were expected to increase the presence of Vietnamese goods in the Italian market through major distribution networks in the country.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said, “Trade promotion activities via foreign distribution channels have contributed greatly to Vietnam’s export achievements. Vietnamese Goods Week events have brought made-in-Vietnam products closer to global consumers. Taking place in France and Italy shortly after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement was signed, the events were expected to boost Vietnamese exports to these potential markets.”