In the face of potential resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, war, inflation, skyrocketing prices, and shipping challenges, businesses really need a hand in trade promotion so as to boost the sales.
Busy trade promotion
In Vietnam, the VIETTRADE, which is directly under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, controls the trade promotion, trademarks, and investments into the industrial and commercial development as regulated. Besides this unit, Vietnam has other national trade promotion institutes under Ministries and supporting organizations, such as the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development where there are units serving the formulation of policies to facilitate the country’s exportation. Trade units and organizations have research institutes, function departments, and information centers which help manage and develop the production and exportation of businesses. Besides, there are 57 provinces and cities establishing trade promotion centers and six provinces and cities having trade promotion departments.
Vietnam has made a plan to establish a Center for introducing seafood products in the EU. According to VIETRADE, this Center will support businesses to seek for opportunities in the EU. There are lots of businesses sending their catalogs and sample products of agriculture, forestry and seafood.
A few months back, the meeting “Opportunity to approach France post-COVID-19” was held in Hồ Chí Minh city by the Ho Chi Minh Trade Promotion and Investment Center in association with Vietnam’s Business Association in France. The event attracted lots of Vietnamese businesses. In the meeting, the French businesses said that Vietnamese seafood was well consumed, however, food safety must be paid attention.
While performing the National program of trade promotion in 2022, VIETRADE worked with the Vietnam Trade Office in Switzerland and Norway to hold a Commercial transaction event in Switzerland and Norway on August 6-16, 2022. Lots of businesses came to work directly with distributors in Switzerland and Norway.
Representative of Garden Food AB Company, Moris Marwan Farkouh, said that the company wanted to import Vietnamese pangasius and basa. The Division of Asia and Middle East, a trade promotion and investment unit of Norway (under the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries) said that Norway had always been looking for long-term strategic partners, including Vietnam.
So as to enhance the trade promotion and investment between Vietnam and the Netherlands for sustainable development of Vietnam’s aquaculture sector, a forum of Trade for Sustainable aquaculture development for businesses of Vietnam and the Netherlands in 2022 was held on September 07 in Cần Thơ by the diplomatic corps of the Netherlands in Vietnam in association with strategic partners in the aquaculture sector. The Netherlands is the biggest buyer of Vietnamese seafood in the EU and the sixth biggest seafood importer of the world.
On the National Day of Vietnam (September 2nd, 2022), leaders of the Ambassador of Vietnam in Pakistan and the Trade Office celebrated an event to advertise Vietnam’s basa fillet and dragon fruits. This is an impressive event while the Pakistan people have increasingly paid attention to Vietnamese agricultural products which have been penetrating the most demanding markets all over the world.
From trade promotion activities, Vietnam’s businesses are realizing demand from the markets which depend on imported agricultural products and seafood. However, the partners are paying more attention to the quality, origin, and credibility of the trademark.
Taking advantage from FTA
According to statistics, Vietnam’s businesses have had major and steady destinations after the CPTPP agreement took effect more than three years ago. Since the validity of the treaty in January 2019, Vietnam’s exports to the CPTPP countries skyrocketed, especially in the Americas. Exports to Canada reached USD 5.3 billion in 2021, up 20.8% from 2020 and up 75% before the treaty took effect. Exports to Mexico reached USD 4.6 billion in 2021 with the growth rate up to more than 100%.
However, exports of seafood and agricultural products accounted for only 4% in this potential market due to the challenge of geographical distance.
EVFTA has contributed to the sustainable trade between Vietnam and the EU and created big opportunities for seafood exportation. The EU is one of the five biggest importers of Vietnamese seafood, and Vietnam is the second biggest seafood provider to the EU among Asian countries. The volume of Vietnamese seafood going to the EU surged in 2021. The annual seafood import value of the EU is estimated to reach USD 50 billion and the EVFTA brings Vietnam an opportunity to increase their seafood exports to this market. Thanks to the treaty, the duty 6-22% of about 220 tax codes reduces to 0%. The rest tax codes will gradually impose a duty of 0% in the next 3-7 years.
Chairman of Cà Mau provincial People’s Committee Lê Văn Sử said that Vietnam had participated in many FTAs. The ECEP alone promises to bring advantages to Vietnam’s seafood exporters. The ECEP is the largest global-scale treaty, and the ECEP members are major importers of Cà Mau’s seafood (mainly shrimp) accounting for nearly 40% of the density of exported seafood of the province. So as to take full advantage of the treaty, Cà Mau will disseminate and encourage businesses and local farmers to understand the benefits of ECEP, raise the output and improve the quality, especially control the quality to overcome the technical barriers imposed by ECEP countries.
However, according to experts, in the last months of the year it will be difficult for seafood exports to grow as sharply as earlier this year. Businesses and farmers hope that competent authorities continue trade promotion activities and advertise Vietnamese products all over the world.
Enhance the role of Trade Offices of Vietnam in foreign countries
The association between VIETRADE and the Trade Offices of Vietnam in foreign countries has positively changed. As the COVID-19 pandemic has been controlled, the world starts to reopen with trade exhibitions being held in the country and abroad.
The Trade Offices of Vietnam have paid attention to updating requirements for trade promotion from localities, associations, and businesses. They also hold forums to public information, policies and opportunities from foreign markets; consult the Ministry of Industry and Trade about trade promotion activities; support businesses to deal with difficulties related to markets and take advantage of opportunities. The Trade Offices also help businesses take full advantage of FTAs to expand the market. According to the Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyễn Hồng Diên, Trade Offices would continue to carry out further research to learn about the demand and taste of the market, then consult the Ministry about market development strategies and help businesses with trade connection as well as suitable production plans.