ASEAN market boasts opportunities for Vietnamese firms: official

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s severe impacts on global supply chains, the ASEAN market in close proximity with Vietnam is holding opportunities for the country’s enterprises, an official has said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese goods, following the US, China, and the EU, Nguyen Phuc Nam, Deputy Director of the Asia - Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told an international workshop held both in person and virtually on November 26.

Trade between Vietnam and nine other ASEAN countries fell slightly in 2020 due to the pandemic, by 6.8% year on year to US$53.6 billion Thanks to efforts to seize opportunities in the ASEAN market, the figure bounced back to reach US$56.6 billion in th.e first 10 months of 2021, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

With the close proximity with Vietnam, trade with the ASEAN countries helps businesses save logistics costs and more transportation choices such as by sea, road, or air.

Besides, consumption similarities can also help Vietnamese goods enter and win over support in the ASEAN countries, Nam said, adding that export to regional markets is the first step for commodities from Vietnam to enter others with stricter standards.

Most of goods traded with the ASEAN countries have benefited from preferential tariffs of zero percent under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, or some more special treatment under the bilateral deals Vietnam has signed with Laos and Cambodia.

In the time ahead, when the ASEAN countries accelerate measures for post-pandemic economic recovery such as market opening, supply chain ensuring, and trade facilitation, Vietnamese businesses will have optimal conditions to further tap into this market’s potential, according to the official.

Nam pointed out that many enterprises have not paid due attention to this market or grasped information about its members, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Meanwhile, the ASEAN countries are now in the recovery process and have great demand for imported goods.

Tran Thi Thanh My, Trade Counsellor of Vietnam in Thailand, said Thailand has eased export - import restrictions to facilitate trade and resume supply chains to meet global goods and service demand. This is a great chance for Vietnamese exporters, she said.

Meanwhile, Singapore is interested in food production cooperation so as to produce 30 percent of its food needs by 2030. Therefore, agricultural businesses have many cooperation chances in this field, according to Trade Counsellor in Singapore Tran Thu Quynh.

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