|Workers produce bags at the Trung Viet Co's premises in Ha Noi. The export value of Vietnamese handicrafts reached US$1.6 billion last year. However, this does not mean sufficient earnings for the 2,790 craft villages and millions of employees. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese handicrafts' 2014 export value reached US$1.6 billion, up 8 per cent year-over-year, the Agro-forestry Processing and Salt Industry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.
The ministry had approved a scheme for handicraft exports for the 2010 to 2015 period, aiming for an export turnover of $1.6 billion by the end of 2015. The sector has achieved the target a year in advance.
Last year, exports of rattan touched $530 million, accounting for 33 per cent of the total exports; the ceramic industry accounted for $480 million, or 30 per cent and the weaving industry reached $270 million or 17 per cent.
The export value of the household and mosaic wood products was pegged at $130 million or 8 per cent and other groups at $190 million or 12 per cent.
The EU, the US and Japan are still key markets for Vietnamese exports. Craft firms are also focused on exploiting new markets in the BRICS group, whose economies are developing rapidly, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These markets are expected to offer great potential for Vietnamese craft exporters.
According to Viet Nam Handicraft Exporting Association (Vietcraft), the full potential of craft villages is still to be tapped. Each year, the global crafts market trades in about $100 billion. However, the Vietnamese market share accounts for only 1.5 per cent.
The association also thinks that the $1.6 billion in export value is too low for the 2,790 craft villages and the millions of employees operating in the sector in Viet Nam.
Do Van Khoi, deputy chairman of Vietcraft, says Viet Nam still lacks investment in technology and design. Many craft producers choose to make low price products instead of high value-added products.
The fact that domestic producers use old designs or copy each other's designs makes internal competitiveness fiercer, leading to a reduction in the global value chain, he explains.
Le Ba Ngoc, chairman cum general secretary of Vietcraft, recommends that craft firms focus on producing medium-priced products, which are appropriate and in keeping with their production capacity, material source and skills, in order to fully exploit their advantages and boost export revenue going forward.
Moreover, firms should also pay attention to high-end products. While developing medium-priced and high-end products, firms need to register trademark protection to protect economic interests of the products exported overseas, Ngoc adds. — VNS