|Plastic basins made at the Song Long Co-operative are exported to Laos. Viet Nam's exports to the ASEAN market reached approximately US$35 billion in 2013. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
HA NOI (VNS) — Trade with ASEAN countries remains modest this year, said an expert, with Viet Nam's exports to the ASEAN market reaching about US$35 billion, while imports were about $40 billion.
However, trade fell below its potential with ASEAN countries, said Le Hoang Oanh, Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Agency, speaking during a seminar entitled "ASEAN Markets – Opportunities for Viet Nam Businesses", held by the agency in Ha Noi yesterday.
Pham Thi Hong Thanh, director of the Asia Pacific Market Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said within the ASEAN block and its relations with other partners around the world, many trade agreements have been signed.
Typically, ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA), Agreement on the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) and trade agreements of ASEAN with China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand. Also, negotiations are underway with other trade agreements, Thanh said.
At the seminar, many argued that to take advantage of opportunities from the ASEAN region, businesses need to consider innovation to be a key task. They must be innovative and always apply advanced science and technology to production.
When the ASEAN Economic Community is established in 2015, Vietnamese businesses will have more opportunities to compete with other countries in the region. To take advantage of these opportunities, domestic businesses have to make efforts to renew their technology and improve product quality while identifying business opportunities.
Nguyen Manh Dung of the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production said local businesses should pay great attention to farm produce, not only to be concerned with following applicable laws, but to assure all measures are followed to guarantee the safety of the food.
In addition, businesses must take the initiative in terms of technology, processing and storage equipment. If they do not have good products and materials, they will not be able to meet market demands, both in local and ASEAN markets.
The trade experts said that ASEAN region was known as the third largest importer for Viet Nam, after the US and EU. Currently, Viet Nam has participated in the process of ASEAN trade liberalisation.
The participation in this process has created many opportunities for Vietnamese businesses, though they also faced many challenges, such as non-tariff barriers, regulations on quality standards, and certificates of origin of export items.
According to the road map of Viet Nam's commitment to ASEAN by 2015, the country seeks to reduce 90 per cent of taxes to zero per cent and most tariff lines will be slashed to zero per cent by 2018. — VNS