HANOI: Bolstering the retail distribution system is an important way to expand exports to the European Union (EU), where Vietnamese goods still have significant room for growth under the auspices of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
According to Nguyen Thao Hien, deputy director of the European-American Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2022 is considered a favourable time for trade and investment promotions with the EU, as the two sides are focusing on accelerating post-pandemic growth and actively resuming economic and trade activities.
The EVFTA, after two years of implementation, provided a tool to promote two-way trade and also serve as a great opportunity for enterprises from the two sides to grow, amid global market fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and geopolitical uncertainties, Hien said.
She cited statistics showing that bilateral trade between Vietnam and the EU reached US$31.7bil (RM142bil) in the first half of this year, representing a rise of 14.5% over the same period last year.
Vietnam is the 14th largest trade partner of the EU and the largest from Asean, and the 11th biggest supplier of goods to the EU.
Hien stressed that after two years, more and more enterprises are taking advantage of the trade deal by obtaining a certificate of origin (C/O).
Still, penetrating and expanding in the EU market is not easy for Vietnamese enterprises because of the limited internal production capacity, coupled with the lack of market information.
A number of products faced difficulties in accessing EU market because they had not fully met the EU’s requirements regarding technical standards, traceability, environmental, social and sustainable development issues.
Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, said that the EU market has good potential for Vietnamese enterprises – especially in the Nordic region where the people generally have high income and strong purchasing power.
Thuy cited statistics that Vietnamese goods currently account for less than 1% of the EU’s total annual import value.
She pointed out that while trade revenue with the EU kept increasing, most Vietnamese enterprises focused on exploiting a few traditional markets in Western Europe.
According to Vu Anh Son, from the Vietnam Trade Office in France, the distribution system was an effective channel to expand the export of Vietnamese goods to the EU.
However, bringing goods into the distribution channels requires enterprises to have long-term orientation and production plans to meet the standards of the markets and of each distributor.
Son said that after the pandemic and political upheavals, many distribution systems tended to establish supply chains for easier control and connection, adding that Vietnamese enterprises could grasp that trend to join their supply chains, especially for products in which Vietnam had advantages, such as garments and footwear.
Selling products to the EU under the Vietnamese brand name has been showing positive signs, Son said, urging enterprises to focus on product quality for long-term and sustainable development.
According to Hien, it is essential to provide enterprises with detailed market information – not general orientations and opportunities, but specific and practical to each target industry and product, together with the establishment of a support system to connect them directly with importers and access to distribution systems.
Khiem Nhat Thanh, general director of T&T Food, an importer in the distribution system in France, said that besides product quality, enterprises should have a long-term and specific marketing strategy to expand in the EU. — Viet Nam News/ANN