|Workers at Kaiser Wood Industry in Binh Duong Province operate a high-end furniture production line for exports to the US — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh
HCM CITY (VNS) — The US and Latin American countries have huge demand for products made by sectors in which Vietnamese companies have advantages, but they need to study these markets carefully to enter them, a forum heard in HCM City yesterday.
They also need to improve quality to meet the demands of these markets, attendees told the Export Forum organised by the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City.
According to Nguyen Duy Khien, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's American Market Department, the US's imports have grown as it increasingly focuses on exporting services.
Apart from agricultural products, the US has high demand for items like garment and textile, footwear, wood products, seafood, and electronics products and accessories, he said, adding that Vietnamese firms are strong in these industries.
Trade between the US and Viet Nam was worth US$36.3 billion last year, of which Viet Nam's exports accounted for $30.6 billion but only 1.3 per cent of the US's total imports.
The lower tariffs in the US following accession to the TPP would create an enormous advantage for Viet Nam vis-a-vis its competitors since many of them are not part of the deal, Khien said.
Amcham executive director Herb Cochran said Viet Nam was the largest Southeast Asian exporter to the US, accounting for 22 per cent of shipments from the region.
"Unfortunately, most of the exports are from FDI companies. We want to help Vietnamese companies participate in the global supply chain."
Vietnamese firms should find a way to join the foreign-owned companies' global supply chains to get a part of the export pie, he said.
To penetrate the US market, Vietnamese firms would need to understand the rules, he said.
Then they would have to find partners to help them, find customers and understand what customers' rules are, which would be in addition to the nation's safety rules, he said.
Khien said the advantages with regard to import duties under the TPP notwithstanding, businesses should also cut costs to make their products more competitive.
Latin America, which consists of 33 countries and a population of 600 million, had high demand for primary processed products and consumer goods, Tran Duy Dong, deputy head of the American Market Department, said.
Viet Nam trades with all countries and territories there, with Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Columbia being key partners.
Two-way trade had increased strongly, reaching $9.5 billion last year, an increase of 40.7 per cent over 2013, Dong said.
But the lack of market information, high transport costs, issues related to payment, fierce competition from Chinese and Indian goods, and trade barriers in some markets were among the difficulties Vietnamese firms face, he said.
More efforts should be made to provide Vietnamese exporters information about these markets, he said.
Delegates said Vietnamese businesses should take part in overseas trade fairs and exhibitions to do market research and find new business partners. — VNS