Vietnamese trade offices pave way to potential markets

10:13 | 28/03/2018 Trade

(VEN) - Overseas Vietnamese trade offices have significantly contributed to paving the way for Vietnamese goods to potential discerning markets. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh praised their initiative in collecting updated information about the markets, as well as economic, trade and investment policies of foreign countries. 

vietnamese trade offices pave way to potential markets
Vietnamese trade counselors abroad met in Hanoi on February 7

Overcoming hurdles

Australia is one of the markets that have seen impressive growth of Vietnamese exports. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Vietnamese Deputy Consul-General and Head of the Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia, said Australia is a market of great potential that applies no import quotas and its import taxes on most kinds of goods range from 0-5 percent. However, this market has strict requirements for imported goods, especially in terms of food safety and animal quarantine.

“Despite difficulties, trade between Vietnam and Australia reached US$6.46 billion in 2017, up 22.1 percent compared with 2016. This included US$3.3 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to Australia, a rise of 15.1 percent,” Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said.

Another potential market is Russia. According to Duong Hoang Minh, Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in Russia, this market restricts seafood imports from Vietnam. Currently, only 21 Vietnamese companies export seafood to Russia, although 50 companies are eligible to export seafood to this market. The Vietnamese trade office in Russia has maintained tight coordination with local authorities to persuade them to lift restrictions on seafood imports from Vietnam.

“In 2017, Russia sent delegations to Vietnam to explore the export conditions of some companies. Hopefully, the number of Vietnamese companies exporting seafood to Russia will increase in 2018,” Duong Hoang Minh said.

Important role

The Vietnamese trade office in Australia has taken the initiative in learning about its mechanisms and policies, as well as in assisting Vietnamese companies in promoting exports to this market.

Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said updated information about policy changes that the office seeks from the websites of Australian agencies helps Vietnamese companies minimize losses. In January 2017, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced an urgent ban on the import of uncooked prawns and prawn meat from Asian countries due to concerns about an outbreak of white spot disease. The office quickly forwarded this information to Vietnamese localities and businesses so that they could restrict the export of products subject to the ban. The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade sent an official letter to the Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and worked with the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam to persuade them to lift the ban. Following these efforts, the Australian side lifted the ban on July 7, 2017.

vietnamese trade offices pave way to potential markets
Vietnamese mangoes have been exported to Australia

The Vietnamese trade office in Russia also carried out activities to help domestic companies promote exports to this market. It has conducted market and policy research and participated in negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) in an effort to remove trade barriers that hinder Vietnamese exports to Russia.

According to Duong Hoang Minh, the Vietnamese trade office in Russia has provided support for Vietnamese and Russian authorities to deal with problems that arose in the implementation of FTAs, creating a firm legal basis for domestic companies to promote exports to Russia. Since 2015, the office has assisted businesses in exporting various kinds of goods to Russia, such as textiles and garments, leather and footwear, steel, rice, tea, coffee and other agricultural products. The office also helped Vietnamese businesses participate in fairs and exhibitions in Russia, and encouraged Russian companies to increase cooperation with Vietnamese partners.

Vietnamese exports will face more trade barriers in the coming time, requiring greater efforts by overseas Vietnamese trade offices to fulfill the tasks assigned by the government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Vietnamese commercial counselors in foreign countries have asked authorities to provide them with updated information about management policies and development mechanisms of each sector, as well as the situation of domestic businesses, so that they can effectively connect domestic businesses with foreign partners.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc:

“I believe the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnamese commercial counselors in foreign countries play a very important role in maintaining and promoting Vietnam’s trade relations with major partners, especially in materializing valuable deals and contracts signed in 2017. Counselors have significantly contributed to building a firm foundation for Vietnam’s relations with other countries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will maintain tight coordination with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as with counselors, to get updated on development trends of the global and regional economies, especially trade protectionism. Information sharing will be intensified, especially in fields where Vietnamese companies have comparative advantages, to deal on a timely basis with problems related to trade between Vietnam and other countries.”

Lan Phuong