Đinh Thị Mỹ Loan, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese Retailers’ Association
Recently, retail corporations and commercial centers in Việt Nam have been controlled by foreign investors. This has worried Vietnamese retailers. Việt Nam News Agency talks to Dr Đinh Thị Mỹ Loan, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese Retailers’ Association about Vietnamese retailers.
What do you think about the recent phenomena of “market concentration” in our national economy and in the retail market?
Tthe phenomenon of “market concentration” has been reported in all spheres in our society, particularly in the retail market.
We’re living in an era of international integration. According to research conducted by the Việt Nam Retailers’ Association, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have become increasing internationally. Of course, Việt Nam is a part of the game. That’s why we should consider it normal in a market economy.
More recently, after M&As the Metro Cash & Cary Việt Nam and Big C Việt Nam have fallen into the hands of Thai retailers. Following the successful M&As of the Thai retailers of the two super markets, many Vietnamese people, particularly traders, have expressed deep anxieties about Thai traders flourishing in Việt Nam. “Will Thai made commodities replace Vietnamese commodities?” is something many Vietnamese citizens are asking.
From our point of view, for Vietnamese goods to continue to be displayed on the shelves of the two super markets depends on two factors – the quality of Vietnamese commodities and the attitude of Vietnamese consumers towards Vietnamese products.
For us, people working in the field, we are not worried much about the infiltration of foreign retailers into our market or the flooding of foreign made goods in our country.
Of course, during the negotiations for the ASEAN Economic Community and the new generation of Free Trade Agreements, we carefully considered what negative impacts that Việt Nam would face when it signed those treaties.
What about the pressures on Vietnamese enterprises?
The pressure on them is very heavy as this is the first time Việt Nam has opened its market wide to foreign made goods.
On the other hand, it is also a good opportunity for Vietnamese goods to penetrate foreign markets through our trade partners. We have to adopt a pro-active attitude and do our best to become a winner – not a loser, in our domestic and in the international markets. I’m confident that we can do it!
Though in the recent past, several members of the Association of Vietnamese Retailers have excelled in competing against foreign rivals in our domestic market, companies like Vinamilk, Điện Quang Electronic Company, Sài Gòn Food and others.
The Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers have protested Big C Super Market’s high discounts on their seafood. Do you agree that the discount applied by the Big C is not fair?
These discount stories, on both Vietnamese and foreign super markets, have been covered in the press many times. Supermarkets all over the world apply discounts on goods in their supermarkets. To find an acceptable discount percentage a transparent, mutual agreement between the two parties is needed.
Do you think that the Economic Need Test (ENT) is an effective tool before an M&A takes place?
ENT has been used as an effective tool to protect Vietnamese enterprises from the infiltration of foreign goods into the country, but it will no longer be effective when any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Việt Nam is a signatory comes into force.
However, in reality, the ENT is a very weak tool in terms of trade barriers.
Many FTAs and the Trans Pacific Partnership will soon come into force, so Vietnamese enterprises have to accept fair and tough competition to maintain their market shares in our domestic market as well as in foreign markets.
Enterprises should know where they stand in the domestic market and adopt rational market strategies.
Having good strategy, well trained human resources, good market research and high quality management are essential tools for Vietnamese enterprises to maintain their standing in our domestic market._VNS