Localities and businesses appreciate the efforts made by Vietnamese trade counsellors in helping the country’s businesses boost their exports, and want them to continue providing information in a timely manner.
Speaking at the 2018 Trade Counsellor Conference held in HCM City on February 26, Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee, said his city’s exports last year increased by 15 percent over 2016.
“In addition to efforts made by businesses themselves, trade counsellors contributed to the success of the city’s exports by providing them with information.”
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said Vietnam’s exports reached a record US$213.8 billion last year, an increase of 21.1%.
“There was certainly a contribution by trade counsellors, who besides helping businesses promote their products abroad, also verify information about their partners and provide support in case of trade disputes,” he said.
But there were still shortcomings in the system, and the biennial conference was held to review the previous two years and set goals for the next two, he said.
Delegates said information provided by trade counsellors in both directions was sometimes too general.
Besides, they sometimes stop at providing just addresses and phone numbers of businesses, he said.
“We need quick information and early market forecasts. We only get the information that the US changed its policy after the change. If we get the information a few months earlier, businesses could be more proactive,” Nam said.
The city and its businesses want to take part in trade fairs to promote its key products like seafood and rice, so trade counsellors and trade offices should evaluate trade fairs to tell businesses which ones they should participate in, according to him.
Lam Van Bi, Vice Chairman of the Ca Mau People’s Committee, suggested trade counsellors provide more precise market forecasts and information about technical barriers and competitors.
Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, wanted trade counsellors to help promote exports of key products like garment and textile and electronics.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should organise seminars and conferences to enable businesses to understand more about CO (certificate of origin) and consumer habits in foreign markets, he said.
The city was focusing on developing infrastructure and logistics, and trade counsellors should help find investors in those sectors, he added.
Nguyen Canh Cuong, Vietnam trade counsellor in the EU and Belgium, said Belgium could help Vietnam, especially HCM City, train human resources in the logistics sector.
“We will be pleased to connect businesses and localities that have demand for logistics development with Belgium.”
Speaking about risks like trade disputes and online frauds, he said, “If businesses receive suspicious emails, they can contact the trade office to verify.”
According to Nguyen Hoang Thuy from the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia, the country is a potential market for Vietnamese products but has high quality requirements.
Vietnamese exports to the market have increased significantly but still remain low compared to potential.
Vietnamese businesses need to focus on improving product quality, persifying export items, increasing export of value-added products and building brands for their products.
The conference was followed by a direct meeting between businesses and trade counsellors in the EU, Americans, Asia and Africa markets.