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Experts see hindrances to Vietnam’s exports to Australia

Experts see hindrances to Vietnam’s exports to Australia

Wednesday, September 06, 2023, 16:12 GMT+7
Experts see hindrances to Vietnam’s exports to Australia
Sarah Hooper, Consul General of Australia in Ho Chi Minh City, speaks at a roundtable titled ‘Maximizing Import and Export Opportunities through FTAs between Vietnam and Australia’ in Ho Chi Minh City, September 6, 2023. Photo: Nghi Vu / Tuoi Tre

Potential for trade and investment growth between Vietnam and Australia remains huge, but several obstacles over limited knowledge about the needs, the market, stringent import standards, complicated procedures, poor trade connection, and weak free trade agreement utilization are slowing down the former’s export and import activities to the latter, Vietnamese experts told a roundtable held in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.

“In any trade partnership, [Vietnamese enterprises] face some challenges during their investment and expansion processes,” To Ngoc Son, deputy director general of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said at the workshop titled ‘Maximizing Import and Export Opportunities through FTAs between Vietnam and Australia.’

One of the biggest difficulties local firms encounter when they export products to Australia is the strict import requirement set by the Australian side, while the wide gap of technology has made it hard for Vietnamese firms to meet tough standards, Son said.

Besides, he attributed poor access to knowledge about the Australian market and the needs of Australian consumers to Vietnam’s modest exports to Australia.

Vietnam’s Australia-bound export growth averaged out at 4.46 percent per year during the 2009-22 period, according to Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director general of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Many of Vietnam’s potential agricultural products have yet to enter the Australian market due to prolonged procedures, Son stressed.

Vietnam and Australia are among signatories of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which took effect in 2010, 2019, and 2022, respectively, said Khanh.

Several enterprises have failed to either access information about these free trade agreements (FTAs), or tap these FTAs effectively, Son said.

Apart from fiercely competing with many exporters from other nations, Vietnamese firms are facing the added barriers of geographical distance, cautious investor sentiment, and receiving limited funding support from the government.

To Ngoc Son, deputy director general of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is pictured briefing Vietnam-Australia trade activities. Photo: Tieu Bac / Tuoi Tre News

To Ngoc Son, deputy director general of the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is pictured briefing on Vietnam-Australia trade activities. Photo: Tieu Bac / Tuoi Tre News

To spur Vietnam’s exports to Australia, Son suggested that state agencies should popularize information about the latter’s market as well as and FTAs to facilitate domestic export activities.

Also, the government should strengthen trade connections and speed up the exportation of potential farm produce to Australia.

Local enterprises hinted at proactively equipping themselves with knowledge about the market, FTAs, and export standards set by Australia.

They should improve the quality of products and diversify their partners to accelerate their shipments to the Australian market, he added.

Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director general of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, introduces Vietnam’s regional connection through FTAs. Photo: Nghi Vu / Tuoi Tre

Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director general of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, introduces Vietnam’s regional connection through FTAs. Photo: Nghi Vu / Tuoi Tre

Echoing the view, Khanh said that enterprises should not only enhance their production quality, but also build a sustainable export strategy, and learn more about FTAs.

As for Australian firms, Khanh encouraged them to roll out more marketing programs to access Vietnamese consumers, foster cooperation with Vietnamese firms to form a long-term supply chain, and meet all requirements on investment in Vietnam.

These recommendations are expected to bolster Vietnam-Australian trade and investment activities.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Australia grew an average 14 percent per year from 2010 to 2020.

Between January and July, two-way trade reached US$8.1 billion, down 14.3 percent year on year, said Son.

In 2022, Australia was Vietnam’s seventh-largest trade partner, while the latter was the former’s 10th-biggest trade partner.

Over the past 50 years, Vietnam and Australia have made great strides in various fields, including trade and investment.

The two nations will keep deepening their relationship and upgrade it to a new height in the future, said Sarah Hooper, Consul General of Australia in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Tieu Bac / Tuoi Tre News

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