Businesses eye African, Middle Eastern markets

Wednesday, 2017-12-20 11:31:27
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NDO - A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 19 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to highlight the opportunities and challenges, while promoting exports to markets in the Middle East and Africa.

Deputy Director of the Asia and Africa Markets Department, under the MoIT, Ngo Khai Hoan said that despite the geographical distance, Vietnam, the Middle Eastern and African countries enjoy a fine and time-honoured friendship, especially in the fields of trade and investment.

According to Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong, an official from the African Market Department, African countries have a huge demand for farm products. In 2016, African countries imported agricultural products worth US$35 billion, and the figure is forecast to reach US$110 billion by 2025.

The Middle East and Africa comprises of 70 countries with a population of over 1.6 billion, which are considered potential markets for Vietnamese exporters. In 2016, Vietnam’s export revenue to the Middle East and Africa reached US$14.9 billion, while imports were at US$8.4 billion.

Besides agricultural commodities, such as rice, coffee, pepper and coconuts, Vietnam has also exported high added-value industrial products, such as computers, electronics and components, mobile phones, machinery, equipment and spare parts, gems and precious metals to the Middle East.

Vietnam has highly comparable and competitive advantages in the Middle Eastern market in many sectors, including agriculture, industrial consumers, construction, and information technology.

According to experts, to increase the exports to these markets, more should be done to strengthen their trade promotion activities in order to help popularise Vietnamese products through trade fairs, expos, and trade exchange programmes.

In addition, more favourable conditions should be provided for businesses to open their representative offices in certain key markets in the region.