Australia completed a risk assessment for Vietnamese mangoes in November 2015 and work is ongoing to finalise trading arrangements. — Photo vovworld.vn
Viet Nam News -HCM CITY — Many Vietnamese products are favoured by Australian consumers, but their exports to Australia remain meagre, a seminar on business and investment opportunities in that country heard in HCM City last week.
Australia has finalised procedures for importing Vietnamese mangoes, Phạm Ngọc Hưng, deputy chairman of the HCM City Business Association, told the seminar.
Hưng said if licensed, it would be the second fruit after lychees to be exported from Việt Nam into Australia. Vietnamese lychees were exported to Australia in May 2015 with 28 tonnes being exported last year.
Australia completed a risk assessment for Vietnamese mangoes in November 2015 and work is ongoing to finalise trading arrangements.
After licensing, Vietnamese agencies would carry out market research and establish commercial relations with Vietnamese companies, he said.
According to the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency in Australia, Việt Nam exported 1,577 different items to Australia valued at US$635 million in the first quarter of 2016. They included mobile phones worth US$183 million, crude oil (US$60.7 million), footwear (US$40 million), garments (US$37 million), seafood (US$35.8 million) and cashews (US$17.9 million).
Since coming into effect in 2010, the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) has created favourable conditions for Australia and Việt Nam to export goods to each other.
Exports from Việt Nam to Australia increased every year until 2014 when they were worth US$3.99 billion, but declined in 2015 to US$2.9 billion.
Though Vietnamese-Australians living in northern Australia do not make up a majority of overseas Vietnamese living in that country, they grow and supply 30 per cent of all tropical fruits and vegetables sold in the market.
They grow over half of the mangoes in a region that accounts for half of the country’s mangoes.
In 2013 the Vietnamese community in the north established the Vietnamese Farmers Association with over 100 members, and has built a brand name for its mangoes.
The fruits carry brand names such as VINA Mango and T.V. Farms, Bình Dương Farm, and Sài Gòn Farm.
According to the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency in Australia, the economies of Việt Nam and Australia can “complement” each other.
Australia needs labour-intensive items like garments, footwear, wooden furniture, seafood, and cashews while Việt Nam wants products it does not yet have like wheat, milk and timber, he said.
Australians have annual per capita income of US$68,000 and also want to diversify their sources of goods, he said.
However, Vietnamese goods have to meet requirements related to quantity, quality, food safety and sanitation, and prices to compete with similar goods Australia imports from other countries like China, India and Thailand.
Cao Hoài Trung, chairman of the HCM City Medical Equipment Association, was quoted by Thời Báo Kinh Tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) newspaper as saying Australian agencies laid great emphasis on food safety.
To survive in that market, Vietnamese companies should have more effective and long-term marketing strategies, he said.
Nguyễn Hoàng Tranh of the Australia-based East West Lawyers Co., said export firms in his country are supported by the Government, and Vietnamese firms should think about establishing joint-ventures with Australian companies.
The seminar was organised by the HCM City Business Association and Australia’s State of Victoria. — VNS