Minister Counselor Bui Huy Son, Head of Vietnam Trade Office in the US: “Record US $100 billion in trade”
In the context of pandemic-induced difficulties, the Vietnam Trade Office in the US has taken the initiative in making the most of both online and offline operations.
We kept a close watch on the actual situation, analyzed and reported it to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and relevant agencies, and proposed measures to maintain dialogue and a favorable policy environment for economic and trade cooperation. Notably, our support for the consultation process contributed to ending Section 301 investigations initiated for the first time by the US Trade Representative against Vietnam. We provided businesses with active support through more than 20 trade promotion conferences, online market consultation sessions, and business connection, popularization and information verification activities. We also participated in legal processes to protect the interests of Vietnamese businesses in trade remedy cases, as well as to protect Vietnamese brands such as ST25 rice.
Through these activities, we have contributed significantly to promoting economic cooperation and trade between Vietnam and the US. In 2021, bilateral trade for the first time exceeded US$100 billion with growth recorded for both imports and exports, strengthening the position of the US as Vietnam’s largest export market. For its part, Vietnam has become the ninth largest trading partner of the US, up five places compared with 2020.
In 2022, the Vietnam Trade Office in the US will conduct online trade promotion activities and support Vietnamese businesses in arranging direct meetings with US partners when possible. At the same time, the office will maintain coordination with relevant ministries, sectors and associations to organize market consultation sessions and trade promotion conferences. Our policy and market forecasts will enable policy enforcement agencies and businesses to prepare timely response plans.
Minister Counselor Nguyen Canh Cuong, Head of Vietnam Trade Office in the UK (and Ireland): “Efforts to promote Vietnamese farm produce in UK market”
In 2021, the value of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports to the UK grew well. General Department of Vietnam Customs data show that in the first 11 months, the export value reached nearly US$17.7 million, a year-on-year increase of 70.8 percent.
The Vietnam Trade Office in the UK contributed significantly to this result. In 2021, the office coordinated with member units of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance to organize seven trade promotion programs and online trade events, including two farm produce trade promotion programs and one business training program on GlobalGAP – a passport for agricultural products’ access to the European market.
These programs provided Vietnamese businesses with knowledge of opportunities and challenges in the UK market, helping them establish partnerships and develop a sustainable market based on product quality and the ability to implement commitments. The programs also provided British importers and distributors with knowledge of Vietnam’s agriculture and tropical fruit specialties. Some traders at the food wholesale markets in Birmingham and London have imported grapefruit, lime, dragon fruit, lychee, banana, longan and canned coconut milk from Vietnam.
Apart from trade promotion activities, the office also coordinated with the Department of Crop Production under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the UK’s Department for International Trade to remove procedural difficulties so that Vietnamese businesses could make the most of the tariff quota for fragrant rice exports to the UK as soon as the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement took effect.
Scandinavia (Northern Europe and Baltic Sea)
Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Vietnamese Trade Counselor in Sweden (concurrently in the North European market): “Taking advantage of EVFTA to access Northern Europe”
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), effective since August 2020, has benefited and will continue benefiting the two business communities, creating competitive advantages for Vietnamese goods.
General Department of Vietnam Customs data show that in 2020, Vietnam’s exports to Northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Latvia) reached US$1.86 billion. In the first 10 months of 2021, the export value reached US$1.74 billion, up 0.04 percent year-on-year.
Rice was among the fastest growing exports in recent years. In the first nine months of 2021, rice export value reached about US$1.6 million, up 41 percent compared with the same period of 2020 (prior to 2019, the export value ranged from tens of thousands to more than US$100,000). Also in the first nine months, Sweden’s import of garments and clothing accessories from Vietnam grew 32 percent year-on-year. For the footwear sector, while the export value of traditional competitors such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Indonesia dropped 10-19 percent, Vietnam maintained positive export growth.
The Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden has contributed to these results. We have paid special attention to market research, trade promotion innovation, and information for business. The office’s Northern Europe Market website has become familiar to Vietnamese businesses. During the last two years, the office published 14 electronic books providing information about each North European market and Vietnam’s export sectors such as farm produce, coffee, organic food, plastics and plastic products, and footwear. The office also uses an English-language website to introduce the Vietnamese investment and business environment and Vietnamese companies and products to North European businesses.
Vo Thi Ngoc Diep, Trade Counselor, Vietnam Trade Office in the Netherlands: “Soldiers” on the economic front
Like Vietnamese trade offices in other countries, we are “soldiers” on the economic front. Despite pandemic-induced difficulties, social distancing and other restrictions, we have strived to connect businesses in order to increase the presence of Vietnamese goods in foreign markets.
In 2021, Vietnamese lychees and longans were exported for the first time via official trade channels to the Netherlands. This was the result of great efforts to adhere to strict EU regulations in order to bring fresh Vietnamese fruit to Dutch consumers. If product quality is maintained and sufficient supply is ensured, Vietnam can maintain the export of these kinds of fruit in 2022. The Vietnam Trade Office in the Netherlands also organized Vietnamese Goods Week events at two major supermarkets to popularize Vietnamese products, such as frozen/dried vegetables, tubers and fruit, instant noodles and instant coffee.
In 2021, the Vietnamese Ambassador to the Netherlands introduced the Vietnam National Brand Program on the Netherlands’ Diplomat Magazine, paving the way for a number of articles about Vietnamese goods to be published in this magazine and reputable websites of Dutch organizations and associations.
In 2022, the Vietnam Trade Office in the Netherlands will continue supporting the export of Vietnamese farm produce to this market through intensifying business connection activities, focusing on fruit specialties such as Vinh Long grapefruit, Ben Tre coconut, lychees grown in Hai Duong and Bac Giang provinces, passion fruit grown in Gia Lai Province, and Arabica coffee grown in Lam Dong Province. At the same time, we will expand the market for ceramics, rubber products, building materials, and processed food. We will explore possibilities of investment cooperation between businesses of the two countries in fields managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, such as the manufacturing industry, renewable energy, and support industries.
Singapore – Strait of Malacca
Tran Thu Quynh, Trade Counselor, Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore: “Effective trade promotion digitalization”
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore to accelerate digitalization in connecting industry and energy investors through online meetings, conferences, workshops and virtual exhibitions. Singapore is one of the leading foreign investors in Vietnam, especially in the renewable energy, processing and manufacturing industries, and logistics infrastructure. The Vietnam Trade Office in Singapore has arranged online meetings between Singaporean investors and Vietnamese partners, contributing to the success of many important investment projects, such as the Bac Lieu LNG-to-Power Plant, Vinh Phuc Logistics ICD Center (Super Port), and Long An LNG Power Plant.
In 2021, the office organized a hybrid exhibition combining online business meetings and displaying Vietnamese products on-site. The event was a success, resulting in the presence of many kinds of Vietnamese products in Singaporean supermarkets since December.
Also in 2021, in the framework of the Vietnam International Trade Fair, the office coordinated with the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency to organize a forum themed “Invest in Vietnam, a focus on industrial opportunities with provinces in Vietnam”, attracting the participation of more than 100 Singaporean companies. The forum connected Singaporean companies and multinational firms based in Singapore with opportunities to invest in Vietnamese localities, among them Vinh Long, An Giang, Dong Thap, Kien Giang, Nghe An, and Khanh Hoa provinces. The event was praised by relevant Singaporean authorities and organizations.
With support of the office, member companies of the Singapore Furniture Industries Council visited a 3D virtual exhibition of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) to seek opportunities to cooperate with Vietnamese wood processing companies. Our office also organized cooking shows providing recipes for various kinds of Vietnamese food.
Nguyen Phu Hoa, Deputy Consul General in Sydney, Head of Vietnam Trade Office in Australia: “Accompanying businesses in building Vietnamese brands”
In 2020, the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia launched a digital application, Viet-Aus Trade, to support businesses in export activities and introduce Vietnamese localities, their investment opportunities and products. The application has been introduced to thousands of importers, business associations and investors in Australia and neighboring island countries. Using this application, our office organized a digital exhibition with 400 digital pavilions introducing Vietnamese businesses and products.
Our most important task at this time is building Vietnamese brands in the Australian market and attracting the attention of Australian consumers to Vietnamese goods.
In the past, Vietnamese farm products were sold in the Australian market without registered brands, meaning that Australian consumers did not know which Vietnamese company made the product. In 2021, our office carried out a number of trade promotion activities on digital platforms to stimulate the demand of Australian consumers for Vietnamese frozen durian, dracontomelon and passion fruit before these products reached the Australian market, opening up opportunities for other products to penetrate the market.