Viet Nam to foster trade with Latin America

Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 16:00

A panel at the conference on Viet Nam - Latin America trade facilitation, where experts said the distance, language barrier and lack of information from both sides have all contributed to suppressing bilateral trade. — VNA/VNS Photo Viet Dung

Viet Nam will help more Vietnamese firms to enter the lucrative Latin American markets, said Do Thang Hai, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, during a conference on Viet Nam – Latin America trade facilitation on Tuesday.

Latin America is a 33-country group with rich natural resources and the second fastest economical growth rate in the world after Asia. Its population is over 650 million, and the average income per capita in 2017 was around US$15,000-16,000.

Trade relations between Viet Nam and Latin America have been developing well. In 2017, bilateral trade between the two was $13.49 billion, 16.9 per cent higher than 2016.

Jaime Chomali, Chile’s Ambassador to Viet Nam, said that Chile is one of the most open economies in the world, and many Vietnamese products are well received by the Chilean people. Viet Nam can increase exports of shark catfish, leather shoes, tea and coffee to the country, and enter other Latin America markets through Chile. Chilean firms are also interested in investing in Viet Nam, he added.

Viet Nam imports numerous products from Latin America, mainly materials for production.

Nguyen Van Thanh, director of Long Long Chemical Co Ltd said that despite the huge potential for Vietnamese firms, trade has been limited due to challenges like the great distance, which makes transportation difficult, especially for fresh produce.

To Thi Tuong Lan, deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, added that language barriers and high barriers to entry like high import taxes and high technical requirements also hinder trade.

Hai said Vietnamese goods exported to Latin America will have to compete with other high quality goods such as those from the US or China, and the lack of information from both sides is another factor suppressing trade.

“Viet Nam will help firms access Latin America markets by pushing for more trade agreements and organising more trade facilitation events,” Hai said.

Vietnamese firms should research their markets and be prepared to commit to the investment.

Viet Nam aims to hit $15-18 billion of bilateral trade in 2021. — VNS

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