|Workers harvest rainbow trout raised in Sapa in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai. Fisheries' products are among the most promising products for export to Finland. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
HCM CITY (VNS) — Finland has large demand for agricultural and fisheries products, providing Vietnamese firms with plenty of export opportunities, a seminar heard in HCM City yesterday.
Claudio Karjalainen, general manager of Finnsea Consulting Company, said last year his country imported 116,200 tonnes of seafood worth 402 million euros, of which Viet Nam accounted for a mere 4 per cent.
Vietnamese shrimp products accounted for less than 1 per cent, he said.
Finnish consumers ate more and more imported salmon and tuna, while Viet Nam has succeeded in breeding salmon in Lao Cai Province, he said.
"Finns consume a lot of frozen food as it is convenient.
"Shrimp of various sizes and species are mostly used frozen for cooking in Finland.
"Finnish consumers eat both cold water shrimp from nearby countries as well as hot water shrimp from more exotic destinations."
There is still room for Viet Nam to export these products, according to the general manager.
Finnish consumers are willing to pay high prices, but expect high quality, safe, and tasty products. Though itself small, the Finnish market can be a gateway to other Nordic markets for Vietnamese products.
The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is working on a project to help Vietnamese firms boost exports of agricultural and fisheries products to Finland and Northern Europe, according to Nguyen Tuan Hai, deputy head of its international relations department.
Its objectives are to provide necessary market information, including about standards, and training to producers and exporters to help them improve their production to meet the requirements in Finland and elsewhere in Northern Europe.
It would help exporters do market research and find partners in Northern Europe, Hai, who is also the project's director, said.
The project is funded by the Finnish Government.
"Northern Europe markets have high demand for tropical agricultural and fisheries products, but Vietnamese firms export to the region only via third countries and with little value addition," he said.
Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of the VCCI in HCM City, said trade with Finland remained modest at US$228 million a year.
Viet Nam exported mainly coffee, rubber, footwear, garment and textile, handicrafts, and bicycle and motorbike parts, and imports machinery, communication equipment, raw plastic, electrical equipment, and others.
Finland had invested over $320 million in nine projects in Viet Nam to rank 27th in the list of investing countries, Hung said.
The two countries were trying to boost trade and investment ties, he added.
The seminar was organised by the VCCI in HCM City, the Finnish embassy in Viet Nam, and the Finnish Business Partnership Programme (Finnpartnership), which promotes co-operation between companies in Finland and in developing countries. — VNS