Great potential for Vietnamese goods to enter Africa, Middle East

Friday, Nov 24, 2023 16:36

A cashew processing company in Bình Phước Province. Cashew is one product which has great potential for export to Africa and Middle East. — VNA/VNS Photo

An online workshop discussing measures to further promote the export of products to Africa and the Middle East was held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency on Thursday.

Addressing the event, Nguyễn Minh Phương, head of the West Asia – Africa Office under the MoIT 's Department of Asia – Africa Markets noted that Middle Eastern countries must import up to 80 per cent of food and foodstuffs, equivalent to US$40 billion each year, while African countries also import goods with similar value every year. Notably, the requirements for quality and product design of these markets are not too strict.

Trương Xuân Trung, who is in charge of the Vietnam Trade Office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said all Vietnamese goods can be exported to this market if they meet standards, noting that the UAE is also a regional and global transit centre, so there is potential to re-export goods from this market.

According to Trung, Việt Nam is the largest exporter of agricultural products to the UAE among ASEAN countries. In the first 10 months of 2023, Việt Nam's export of cashew nuts, rice, fruits and vegetables, and tea increased by 60 per cent, 30.9 per cent, 18 per cent and 15.4 per cent, respectively.

Notably, agricultural products exported to the UAE are not yet subject to taxes, therefore, Vietnamese goods, even without the geographical advantage, can still compete in this market, Trung noted.

Furthermore, the UAE is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), so Vietnamese goods exported to the UAE and re-exported to other GCC countries are not subject to double tax.

Nguyễn Duy Hưng from the Vietnam Trade Office in Egypt said agricultural products including tea, pepper, cashew nuts, coconut rice, coffee, and seafood are the main exports of Việt Nam to Egypt. However, these products are facing fierce competition from similar goods from other countries.

A representative of the Vietnam Trade Office in Nigeria emphasised that as the most populous country in Africa and the fastest-growing consumer market in the world, Nigeria is a potential market for Vietnamese goods. The country’s consumption growth is predicted to surge by 150 per cent to $603 billion in 2030 from $240 billion in 2023. Nigeria is also forecast to be the world's largest rice importer in 2024 with a total volume of about 2.1 million tonnes.

Speakers advised domestic exporters to be cautious in trade transactions with partners in Africa and the Middle East, saying that the risk in payment is the most important issue to pay heed to.

Businesses should choose a safe payment method such as a letter of credit (L/C) to avoid fraud, they said. — VNS

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