|Delegates pose for a group photo at the Việt Nam-India B2B meeting in HCM City on February 9. — VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — Trade in paper between Việt Nam and India is quite low and there is significant potential for growth, a meeting between Indian and Vietnamese paper companies heard in HCM City on February 9.
K Srikar Reddy, the Indian consul general in the city, said bilateral trade had grown more than 60 fold in the last two decades to US$10.13 billion in 2016-17.
“India is among the top 10 trading partners of Việt Nam.”
India exported paper worth $38.17 million to Việt Nam last year, only 3.26 per cent of its global exports, he said.
It imported paper worth $2.7 billion, but only $7.78 million from Việt Nam, he said.
There is thus much scope to promote bilateral investment and trade ties in the sector, he added.
Hoàng Trung Sơn, vice chairman of the Việt Nam Pulp and Paper Association, said the paper industry has seen outstanding growth of 11 per cent a year and can meet 64 per cent of demand.
Last year Việt Nam imported around two million tonnes of paper at $1.7 billion, mainly from Asian economies such as China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan.
“Việt Nam has started importing paper from India with the volume increasing year after year. Thanks to the Free Trade Agreement between ASEAN and India (AIFTA), the import tax on main paper lines is decreasing gradually, increasing the competitiveness of Indian paper.
“We believe that there is plenty of opportunity for co-operation between Việt Nam and India in both paper production and trading.”
Nguyễn Ngọc Minh Thy, vice president of the Việt Nam Packaging Association, said packaging paper is the main product of the country’s paper industry.
Consumption in Việt Nam is still low at 33kg per person compared to the global average of 57kg, he said.
But with a young population and the development of large supermarkets, the packaging paper market is expected to grow at an average of 9 per cent a year until 2025, he added.
The meeting was attended by a delegation of 44 Indian companies belonging to the Federation of Paper Traders Association (FPTA).
According to the FPTA, India’s paper demand is expected to grow by 6-7 per cent in 2016-22 and reach 19.9 million tonnes a year by 2022.
A shortage of raw materials and higher costs are preventing the industry from increasing production and the country has to rely on imports to meet demand, it said.
Shekar Chandak, leader of the visiting business delegation, said the main purpose of the visit is to explore opportunities for both exporting paper to Việt Nam and buying from it.
India has some special paper which it can export to Việt Nam.
“We are here to look for opportunities, whether joint venture or setting up trading houses to do trade both ways and look for global trade from here.
“India imports a lot of wood chips also for the paper industry. We are importing from Australia, Japan, and South Africa.
“And Việt Nam is a big producer of wood chips, so there is a huge opportunity for importing wood chips also.” — VNS