|Workers at Nam Dinh Garment Joint Stock Company produce clothes for export. Latin American markets offer a mine of untapped potential for Vietnamese enterprises. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HA NOI (VNS)— Latin American markets offer a mine of untapped potential for Vietnamese enterprises to penetrate and expand their businesses.
That was the message from the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
Viet Nam now has trade relations with all 33 countries and territories in the region with a total export and import turnover of US$5.5 billion last year, accounting for 3 per cent of the country's total.
However, there was potential for this figure to further increase, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade's deputy director of the American Market Department Tran Huy Dong.
Dong pointed out that demand for imported products in the region – which has a total population of more than 600 million - was huge and most had a taste for foreign products.
According to Do Viet Phuong, Trade Counsellor of Viet Nam in Cuba, the prices and quality of Vietnamese products were appropriate for the demands of regional consumers.
Some countries were even faced with a scarcity of goods, so all types of products were wanted, he added.
The region's technical and hygiene standards for imported products were not as tight as those for Europe or the US market, Phuong said, adding that several Governments now had policies to diversify goods suppliers, including Asian countries like Viet Nam.
"Latin American markets would be a good choice if Viet Nam wanted to boost exports and reduce its dependence on traditional import markets," Dong said.
However, the long distance, language barrier and lack of market information remained difficulties for Vietnamese enterprises seeking to penetrate Latin American markets, experts said.
The geographical issues would push up transport costs and reduce the competitiveness of Vietnamese products, while Vietnamese products would face stiff competition from other Asian countries including China and India.
Phuong said trade organisations in Latin America would be willing to act as a bridge connecting and supporting enterprises.
A website about Latin American markets would be set up for enterprises to find information and discuss business opportunities via an on-line forum, Dong said.
According to To Xuan Canh, director of Hao Canh Sanitary Wares Company, the procedures should be simplified to save time.
He said trade promotion activities, such as exhibitions, should be enhanced for enterprises on both sides to seek business opportunities.— VNS