Seminar hails S Africa, VN trade

Saturday, Jan 20, 2018 08:02

Delegates exchange information on the sidelines of the seminar to promote trade, investment and tourism between South Africa and Viet Nam held in HCM City on January 19. — VNS Photo

There is enormous potential for investment and trade between South African and Viet Nam, according to political counselor at the South African Embassy in Ha Noi, Mat Matiwane.

Speaking at a seminar on trade, investment and tourism promotion by South Africa in HCM City on Friday, he said the two countries have something to offer each other.

“South Africa is a major exporter of mineral-based commodities, which could assist Viet Nam in its expanding industrialisation.”

Strong growth in domestic consumption fuelled by increasing income levels in both nations is creating demand for their respective products, he said.

“Infrastructure development that took place in Southern Africa has also resulted in joint ventures between service providers such as Viet Nam’s Viettel in our neighbouring country.”

Nguyen The Hung, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCM City office, said trade between Viet Nam and South Africa has increased significantly.

It was worth US$924.5 million in the first 11 months of last year, with Viet Nam’s exports accounting for over $704 million, he said.

“As of November last year South African firms had invested $1.22 million in seven projects in Viet Nam while Vietnamese firms had invested $1.6 billion in two projects in South Africa.

"Despite the great strides in bilateral trade and investment relations, trade between Viet Nam and South Africa remains largely untapped.”

In addition, South Africa, with its many spectacular sights and cool weather around the year, remains an unexplored destination for Vietnamese tourists, he said.

Matiwane said: “It seems there is a lack of information on both sides about each other’s business opportunities as well as social and cultural environments. One cannot seize an opportunity if one does not know that it exists.”

Some attendees pointed out that the difference in payment methods -- with South African firms wanting payment in advance while Vietnamese companies prefer letters of credit -- is another obstruction to trade.

Matiwane listed areas in which the two sides could enhance co-operation, like aquaculture, shipbuilding, advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, metals, mining, furniture, agribusiness, garment and textile, and footwear.

There is huge potential for export of Vietnamese agricultural products to his country, especially fruits it does not have, he said.

South Africa boasts stable economic growth, an abundance of natural resources and modern infrastructure, and offers investment incentives, and could also act as a gateway for Vietnamese products to the rest of the continent, he added.

He also encouraged investors and trade partners to “take a long-term view to co-operation” to ensure that their investment in trade with South Africa is sustainable and profitable.

Viet Nam’s main exports to South Africa are mobile phones and accessories, computers, electronic products, footwear, coffee, rice, pepper, wooden products, and cashew nuts.

It imports iron and steel, raw materials for footwear and garment and textile industries, chemicals and plastic materials.

The meeting was organised by the VCCI in collaboration with the South African embassy in Viet Nam. — VNS

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