Last updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Promoting Agriculture, Seafood Exports to Finland and Nordic MarketsPosted: Thursday, December 15, 2016
"One of the problems affecting the production, import and export of agriculture and fisheries enterprises is to understand export markets. Due to geographical distance and limited capital, the majority of enterprises in this sector, who are of small and medium size, have difficulties acquiring market information.”
Mr Nguyen Tuan Hai, Director of Project Supporting Export to Finland and the Nordic Markets period 2014-2016 (FLC 14-04), said this at the meeting held in Hanoi to sum up the project by Vietnam Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland.
According to VCCI, the policy of promoting Vietnamese exports, paying attention to diversified markets, especially not dependent on any single market in recent times, has been focused by the National Assembly and the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, bilateral trade relations between Vietnam and Finland and the Nordic countries are completely inappropriate. Two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Finland, or with any member of the Nordic countries in 2012-2013, did not exceed US$1 billion. The reason is that the connection between Vietnamese enterprises and Northern Europe is still insufficient, stems from a lack of exchange of information on market opportunities, regulations and requirements of the imported goods, geographical distance, language barriers, and especially the exports of Vietnam has not concentrated on developing quality and forms suitable for this market.
In this context, the VCCI has actively formulated a scheme to ask for support from the Finnish Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) and is approved by the Embassy of Finland. In July 2014, the project to support agricultural and fishery exports to Finland and Northern Europe by the VCCI was approved by the Embassy of Finland in Vietnam. According to Mr Hai, the project's goal is to raise processing and export capacity of Vietnamese agriculture and seafood businesses; contributing to enhancing trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Finland and the Nordic region.
After two years of operation, the project has received positive reviews from the business community and other stakeholders, especially in strengthening the capacity to access market information and business opportunities. To support enterprises to master the information on the Nordic fisheries and agriculture sector, learn about new policies, predicts market analyst and commodities, look for reliable partners, the project has been implementing some solutions such as building website http: //www/xuakhauphanlan.com; conducting a survey on the capacity of agricultural export enterprises of Vietnam's fisheries with the objective to learn, identify factors affecting agriculture and seafood import-export, identifying strengths and existing issues of businesses in these sectors, especially in cooperation with Finland and the Nordic countries.
In particular, the project has organised training courses to search for market information through online trading tools ITC; held seminars to introduce Finland, Northern Europe, the impact of Vietnam-EU trade agreements on the Vietnamese business community.
Mr Hai said that through the survey among 205 Vietnamese enterprises in agriculture and fisheries, the project found that the household businesses are small but fundamental forces in the industry. The joint venture and 100 percent foreign capital businesses account for only 4 per cent, this ratio is quite consistent with the actual situation that foreign companies mainly invest in areas such as electronics and textiles. There are many factors affecting export and import activities in agriculture and seafood sectors between Vietnam and North Europe such as exchange rates, technical barriers, etc. The project also found that Vietnamese enterprises focus on Finland and Northern Europe as it is an attractive market with big consuming power and the number of export orders in the EU (more than 70 percent of businesses declared as this reason).
Therefore, according to Mr Hai, the project also sent proposals to the trade representative agencies of the Nordic countries and the relevant authorities to step up import-export activities in agriculture and fisheries sector and provide information to Vietnamese and Nordic countries’ enterprises through activities such as workshops and seminars to introduce the market potential, the publication of information; implement trade promotion activities such as in-depth technical assistance, invite consultants for businesses, support businesses in market research, search for potential partners through the construction of the enterprise database, support businesses to participate in fairs and business groups to survey market.
In addition, the project is mainly focused on the Mekong Delta so northern-based businesses have not accessed the benefits of the project. So, in the coming time when there is no aid from the Embassy of Finland, VCCI will seek resources to continue to operate the project such as continuing providing information and advice; online training support; workshop; and training.
According to Ms Annika Kaipola- Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of Finland in Vietnam, with practical benefits, Finland will consider extending the project to consolidate and further promote trade cooperation between Vietnam and Finland, on the basis of mutual benefit for both sides, not only the non-refundable projects as before.