Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) official Vo Ta Luong has said learning more about the US market—Vietnam’s biggest exporter— and Chile—a gateway to Latin America – will help businesses with trade promotion and market development.
Luong was speaking at a seminar in HCM City on December 13.
The US, Chile and Vietnam are among the 12 negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. When the trade pact comes into force, it will create plenty of opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate these two most important markets in Americas, Luong said.
He said trade ties between Vietnam and the US and between Vietnam and Chile have grown and flourished over the years.
Vietnamese exports to the US rose nearly 18% in the first 10 months of this year to US$17 billion, while its export earnings to Chile also increased 39% to US$177 million.
The MoIT hopes its support will help Vietnamese businesses export their goods to 35 continental American countries in the near future, reducing its reliance on traditional markets.
Nguyen Duy Khien, another MoIT official, said Chile will slash tariffs on 99.62% of commodities imported from Vietnam when a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) takes effect as of January 1, 2014.
Vietnam has also committed removing tariffs on 87.8% of commodities imported from Chile under the FTA.
Tax cuts will help Vietnam increase the competitiveness of its export products and encourage renowned brand makers to manufacture products in Vietnam for export to Chile.
Meanwhile, Vietnam raked in more than US$20 billion from its exports to the US in 2012, making up just 0.88% of the US’s total import value. Major export products include garments, footwear, woodworks, electronics, and seafood.
The US shipped more than US$4.6 billion worth of goods to Vietnam last year.
However, Khien noted Vietnamese businesses are vying with those from China and Canada to get a larger market share in the US. Vietnamese products are faced with technical and trade barriers, and complex regulations on labour and the environment.
In addition, Vietnamese businesses have yet to develop reputable brands in the US, and they mostly work on manufacturing contracts.
Delegates offered local businesses advice on how to best tailor their approaches to Chilean and US customers.