Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI —Though Việt Nam has become increasingly linked to global trade networks, local small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to integrate globally, said Phạm Thị Thu Hằng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), at the workshop “Supporting international trade for SMEs” in Hà Nội on Tuesday.
Hằng said that most small firms had not had the opportunity to join international trade activities. Research by the Asia Institute showed that the Vietnamese SMEs joined world trade at a lower rate than other countries in the region.
SMEs’ export turnover accounted for less than 20 per cent of the total, though they make up 98 per cent of the country’s total businesses.
In addition, the portion of local SMEs participating in world trade was still low at 21 per cent. In Malaysia, for example, the figure is 46 per cent.
In order to take advantage of increasing opportunities to participate in world trade, SMEs need to update information of the macro-economy, improve financial capacity and international transaction ability.
VCCI’s figures show that only 14 per cent of Vietnamese SMEs have foreign partners and investors, while 65 per cent reported facing difficulties finding them.
“Given the SME sector is a key contributor to trade, employment and economic growth of Việt Nam, it is critical that the sector receive adequate support to grow strongly and sustainably,” she added.
She said the Government should enact policy reforms to help SMEs actively expand their business to the international market.
Nirukt Sapru, CEO of Standard Chartered Việt Nam and ASA Cluster Markets, said that Vietnamese SMEs had problems accessing loans and trade finance. He added that they faced a dearth of information, sale channels and experience in international transactions.
"For the last two decades, Việt Nam has benefited greatly from the expansion of trade and investment links with various countries around the globe – and SMEs play a crucial role in that process. As Việt Nam continues to expand trade with the rest of the world, SMEs will be a key part of this growth: in particular SMEs will be critical to further integrating Viet Nam with global supply chains," he said.
Phạm Hoàng Tiến, director of VCCI’s Centre for Supporting SMEs, said in recent years, the Government had promulgated policies to support SMEs, such as improving the business environment to create more favourable conditions for international integration.
The country has already reformed regulations relating to special inspection of goods and updated import-export services following international standards.
The event attracted more than 100 businesses from diverse industries. Attendees discussed key issues for local SMEs, including the latest Government policies to support SMEs, the economy’s outlook and foreign exchange trends.
Standard Chartered Bank Việt Nam also announced a campaign to offer each firm 50 per cent cash back on their first 10 overaseas payment transactions made before December 30. — VNS