(VOV) -A trade promotion seminar in Hanoi on December 19 heard Vietnam-ASEAN trade is expected to reach US$75 billion this year, including US$35 billion worth of Vietnamese exports.
- New opportunities arising from RoK-ASEAN FTA
- Vietnam seeks breakthroughs in ASEAN trade exchange
- Vietnam ships US$13.7 bln worth of goods to ASEAN
However, Le Hoang Oanh, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Trade Promotion Department, said the total figure is not in commensurate with both sides’ potential.
MoIT Asia-Pacific Market Department Head Pham Thi Hong Thanh concurred, noting Vietnam’s trade agreements with ASEAN members—including the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and the Protocol of Common Effective Preferential Tariffs—offer local exporters numerous opportunities.
These opportunities are only broadened by ASEAN’s network of trade partnerships with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Seminar delegates urged Vietnamese businesses to upgrade their technology, diversify products, and monitor and respond to market trends. Competitiveness needs improvement ahead of the imminent establishment of the ASEAN Community.
Nguyen Manh Dung, a representative from the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries and Salt, said local producers and exporters should ensure their post-harvest and processing technologies and methodologies meet international food hygiene and safety standards.
ASEAN is Vietnam’s third largest export market behind the US and the European Union (EU). Vietnam has committed itself to trade liberalisation via free trade agreements in ASEAN and ASEAN Plus. The removal of tariffs and the imposition of quality and product origin regulations have proved mixed blessings for local businesses.
Trade agreements obligate approximately 90% of existing tariffs must drop to 0% by 2015. Most of the remainder will disappear in the following three years. Vietnamese small and medium-sized businesses will find it especially important to update their market information and identify advantageous footholds before tariff reductions take effect.