Viet Nam has vowed to accelerate foreign trade promotion this year, Do Thang Hai from the Ministry of Industry and Trade told Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economics Times).
What challenges will the country face in trade promotion this year?
This year will continue to be tough for us. Last year we faced many difficulties and challenges, but it was still a good year for our export turnover. The growth rate for 2012 was 18 per cent – surpassing the 13 per cent target set by the National Assembly.
This year, many difficulties and challenges lie ahead. However, I just want to summarise the four most important issues.
First, Vietnamese enterprises are in a difficult period in the context of the global economic sluggishness. In such a situation, it is not easy for trade promotion departments or business associations to get the business and members to participate in trade promotions to their fullest extent.
Second, is the limited capital investment available. At present, the budget allocated to trade promotion from both the government and local agencies is constrained. It is equal to one thirtieth that of other countries in the region and still less compared with that from the USA, EU or Japan.
Third, the weakness in connectivity among local trade promotion agencies.
And finally, there's the insufficient and poor quality of human resources engaged in the area of trade promotion.
Does your department have any plans to boost trade promotion?
The first thing we have to do is to have sufficient capital for the activities, at least the same amount as that of 2012.
The next step is to select which programmes will go on the national trade promotion agenda.
However, for this year, we will focus on programmes that have already been successful in previous years, including the organisation of trade fairs inside and outside Viet Nam; thematic workshops on foreign products which are sold in Viet Nam; participation of foreign business in events organised in Viet Nam.
In addition, we'll encourage Vietnamese enterprises to organise their own trade fairs abroad with support from the government and Vietnamese trade offices abroad.
Last, but not least, the ministry will offer training courses on capacity building for people who are involved in trade promotion from our own ministry, from business associations, localities and Vietnamese leading enterprises.
Recently, Minister Vu Huy Hoang has approved the first list on the national trade promotion programme for this year. How do you comment on such a quick approval by the minister?
You know, a difference in the 2013 national trade promotion programme compared with the previous ones is that the budget comes from the recurrent budget, not from the development investment budget. Such a change has helped to shorten the time in making decisions on how much money will be allocated to the programme.
Once the budget is allocated, the ministry will inform enterprises included in the list how much money they will receive.
So in the first drive we will have more than VND39 billion ($1.85 million) available for 51 trade promotion programmes sponsored by 41 units to carry out their activities. The implementation time for the 51 programmes is the first half of this year. Mainly it will focus on products from agriculture, high tech; organising trade fairs and exhibitions; trade promotions both inside and outside the country with three key objectives: export promotion; expansion of the domestic market; opening new markets in the mountains, at the borders and on off-shore islands.
The quick approval of the trade promotion list by the Minister is a demonstration of the government's special concern and the ministry's commitment to stand side by side with enterprises and localities in their efforts to develop their trademarks, particularly rice and fish – our country's salient commercial development strengths. — VNS