HCM CITY (VNS)— The Viet Nam-Chile Free Trade Agreement, to take effect in January, is expected to boost investment and trade between the two countries, a Ministry of Industry and Trade official has said.
Speaking at a seminar on trade opportunities with Chile as well as the US in HCM City yesterday, Nguyen Duy Khien, director general of the ministry's America Market Department, said under the agreement Chile was committed to eliminating tariffs on almost 84 per cent of Vietnamese goods within 10 years.
Certain goods like footwear, garment and textiles, seafood, coffee, tea, computers and accessories, wood products, mobile phones, and handicrafts, which currently attracted 6 per cent tariff in Chile, would enjoy zero tax immediately after the agreement came into effect.
But to enjoy the lower tariff, goods had to meet requirements related to their origin.
Vietnamese firms therefore needed to conduct more research about the market and carefully study the terms of the agreement to take full advantage.
Nguyen Thanh Quang of the Chile Trade Commission said though trade between Viet Nam and Chile was still modest, it had expanded strongly in recent years to top US$606 million last year.
Chile enjoyed a trade surplus with Viet Nam since Viet Nam imported a large volume of copper from Chile, which accounted for 47 per cent of the world's copper reserves.
Viet Nam mainly exports leather footwear, cement, garment, frozen seafood, coffee, electronic products, and rice, and imports copper, salmon, pinewood, wine, fruits, and fish paste.
Besides investment and trade, Quang said, Vietnamese firms also needed to co-operate with Chilean partners in tourism.
But language and payment problems could cause difficulties for Vietnamese firms in doing business with Chile.
Speaking about the US market, Khien said though Viet Nam's exports to the US had grown strongly, they accounted for less than 1 per cent of the US's total imports.
The signing of the TPP would help increase exports of Vietnamese goods to the market.
La Thi Lan, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City Union of Business Associations, said Chile was a promising market for Vietnamese products, but businesses knew little about it.
The seminar was held to help businesses understand more about the Chilean market and preferential treatment under the FTA so that they could make plans to effectively exploit the market, she added. — VNS