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Exporters face hurdles in accessing EU market

Update: March, 24/2012 - 09:15

HCM CITY — Vietnamese export growth to the EU through 2013 is not expected to be robust as the area continues to have economic difficulties, leading to lower consumer demand, according to the deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's European Market Department.

Tran Ngoc Quan, speaking at a seminar held yesterday by the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency in HCM City, said that the EU's strict technical barriers on hygiene and the environment were also affecting Vietnamese exporters.

Since the economic turndown in 2009, many EU countries have had to increase exports to overcome the financial crisis, leading to fierce competition for markets among EU members.

Exports must satisfy requirements of all 27 EU members, a difficult task because the tastes, consumption style and business culture in every country are different. The EU market has 492 million consumers with income of about US$34,000 each person per year.

Quan said Vietnamese exporters should check the payment capacity and finances of their partners carefully when doing business.

In the past, some exporters experienced slow payments by their buyers, some of whom went bankrupt.

He recommended an increase in exports of processed products instead of raw materials to add more value.

Exporters should try to improve production to reach international standards and meet export-market requirements, minimising the number of violations in competition laws and anti-dumping regulations.

Businesses should access the site www.exporthelp.

europa.eu to update information about EU regulations.

"The Vietnamese firms should not run businesses for the short term or conduct business fraud. They should know how to protect their benefits and image of Viet Nam in general," Quan said.

The Government should intensify trade promotions to gain more access to markets.

To help exporters, the Government also should organise meetings for businesses to keep them up-to-date on trade promotions, EU regulations, free trade agreements and trade commitments.

Dutch, Italian markets

At the seminar, participants learned about trade opportunities from representatives from the Netherlands and Italy.

Jos Schellaars, Consul General of the Netherlands in HCM City, said the country was 10th in the world in terms of GDP per capita and was a major source of imports, exports and FDI.

The country is a dominant player worldwide in logistics, the chemical industry, flower seeds, dredging, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, chip production, equipment and food.

The country has 57 per cent of all European distribution centres, and rail transport connects ports and industrial sites to the rest of the EU.

Bruna Santarelli, Italian Trade Commissioner in Viet Nam, said Italy was the seventh largest exporter and eighth largest importer in the world. It ranks fifth on commodity production in the world, and second in the EU, after Germany.

At least 65 per cent of Italy's production comes from industrial machinery and hi-tech, fashion, furniture, porcelain pottery, construction materials, food and wine.

Although export growth of Viet Nam is fairly stable in most sectors, trade in Italy resulted in a surplus of more than 300 million euros (US$398.4 million) in the first 10 months of last year.

"We hope trade between the two countries will become more balanced," she said.

The Italian Trade Commission plans to promote trade and investment between Italy and Viet Nam (trade shows, seminars, B2B matching missions), and offer more detailed information to Italian companies interested in doing business in Viet Nam. — VNS

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