Supporting Businesses to Harness EVFTA Opportunities

9:37:17 AM | 9/9/2020

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) offers great opportunities for both trade and investment. Adhering to EVFTA provisions is a key factor that helps businesses in particular and the Vietnamese economy in general to utilize the advantages of EVFTA. Mr. Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), the Ministry of Industry and Trade, gives insight into this issue. Huong Ly reports.

What do Vietnamese businesses need to prepare to effectively tap EVFTA?

EVFTA offers both an opportunity to diversify markets and export products, and poses challenges to Vietnamese businesses. The challenge is fiercer competition in commodity and service markets, even in the domestic market. For that reason, they need to work harder to improve product competitiveness and foster intensive trade promotion such as market research and partner appraisal to make effective use of opportunities generated by EVFTA.

To effectively boost trade promotion and capture good opportunities, in addition to government support, Vietnamese enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones (SMEs), need to study and take active preparations. Preparations should be made comprehensively from information research on the EU market to product development investment to ensure compliance with EU import standards and regulations, as well as carefully working out export plans for each product and each target market. They must focus on improving product quality, applying advanced quality standard systems to satisfy increasingly rigorous technical requirements in importing markets, which must be considered a top target. In addition to enhancing quality, they must raise productivity to reduce costs, diversify designs and packaging to match consumer tastes and develop the brand name.

EU consumption practices and trends prioritize sustainability factors. We will have communication and promotion activities to introduce products and build quality and transparent images. These are also the core values ​​that each industry, business and product must show at the same time. Enterprises need to join hands with practical action, proven by quality, compliance with commitments and guaranteed transparency. Hiding product defects will damage the reputation and transparency of the entire industry and in all markets.

Moreover, they need to more actively cooperate with trade promotion agencies to develop plans and join trade promotion events to ensure real, feasible and effective outcomes. For success, businesses must be active, determined and bold to invest money for domestic and overseas trade promotion, improve staff capacity on trade promotion to professionalize enforcement capacity and maximize the outcome of trade promotion.

EVFTA took effect as the COVID-19 pandemic is seriously wrecking the global society and economy. What solutions do you suggest?

EVFTA comes into force and effect when the world economy in general as well as the EU and Vietnam in particular are still heavily hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is believed that the enforcement of this pact will need more time to be productive.

However, in order to support businesses to capture EVFTA opportunities, right since preparatory stages for the entry into force of the agreement, we have encouraged central and local trade promotion agencies and trade associations to actively build schemes to support local businesses or their potential, capable members to export their products to the EU market.

For our part, we have built and launched communications and training programs to help them understand EVFTA, as well as capture specifics and requirements of the EU market, helping them improve the capacity to access and penetrate the EU market, help domestic trade associations and trade promotion agencies enhance their service capacity.

In addition, we have further built trade promotion projects in a new way, applied information technology to trade promotion, digital media advertising and online trade connection to continuously maintain relationships and contact with EU partners while saving travel costs in EU countries. We are well prepared for stronger export promotion right after the epidemic is over.

In the medium and long term, how will you support Vietnamese businesses to comply with EVFTA regulations?

In the medium and long term, the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency will continue to coordinate with industry associations, trade promotion agencies and Vietnamese trade offices in foreign countries to further promote and improve the outcome of trade promotion activities in the European market. In addition to traditional activities, we will support trade associations to research and develop projects to consolidate and develop the European market according to following contents:

Strengthening foundation building and capacity building for Vietnamese trade promotion organizations and the business community; carrying out trade promotion associated with value chains, linking trade promotion for product development and investment attraction to support brand development and export market development; diversifying and changing forms of export promotion for different markets and businesses.

Intensifying international cooperation on trade promotion to mobilize maximum financial and technical resources to carry out trade promotion activities. We will base on signed cooperation agreements as well as long-term cooperation ties with trade promotion agencies in EU countries such as the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, the Business France, the GIZ Germany, the CBI Netherlands and the SECO Switzerland to launch specialized and key trade promotion activities suitable to the EU common market, as well as each member market with its own specific characteristics.

We will continue to build digital platforms for trade promotion and store import and export data by market and industry in importing and exporting activities in general and trade promotion in particular.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum