Economic Sector

Last updated: Friday, March 22, 2019


Improving Role of Vietnam Trade Counsellors

Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Recently, in Ho Chi Minh City, the Ministry of Industry and Trade held the Trade Counsellor Conference 2018, designed as a dialogue between trade counsellors and localities and businesses in the South, in order to increase export turnover for Vietnamese products.

In 2017, Vietnam's trade turnover reached US$425 billion, with exports reaching US$214 billion. The overseas trade system of Vietnam, considered as an extension of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has made many positive contributions, of which the promotion of Vietnam's exports is outstanding. Especially, it has brought the agricultural products and fruits of Vietnam to many countries in the world.

Mr Tran Quoc Khanh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, emphasised that trade counsellors in recent years have worked very hard to bring Vietnamese goods to foreign markets, provide market information to businesses through direct support for businesses such as market research, looking for partner, partner verification, helping to connect domestic and foreign enterprises to support contracting. They also help resolving trade disputes on a national scale, such as anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and trade disputes. The counsellors have partly contributed their efforts to the overall success of the country.

As a member agency of the overseas Vietnamese representative offices, trade offices must be strong collective forces at the front line to protect the national interests; have good relations with the embassies of Vietnam; and give timely feedback to ensure adjustment in the most profitable direction.

As a counsellor who has worked in Belgium for many years, with the knowledge and understanding of the Belgian market, Mr Nguyen Canh Cuong said: "Previously, Vietnam Trade Office in Belgium had many difficulties fulfilling tasks set by businesses. However, with great efforts, the Trade Office has managed to find solutions to overcome these difficulties. We also hope that businesses along with the trade offices will work together to bring the image of Vietnamese products to reach the high demand of the world. If you combine all the resources and wisdom you can do big projects, big programmes."

Mr Pham Quoc Anh, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Malaysia, said: "The Trade Office has worked closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to well organise trade promotion activities over the time. Recently in Malaysia, we also cooperated with the Malaysian Business Association to set up the Vietnam-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Vietnam Business Association in Malaysia, and in the coming time we will promote activities with other associations to hold seminars as well as forums and provide information on exhibitions of enterprises of the two countries.”

The conference also noted considerable positive feedback and contribution from the business community, in which Mr Dang Hoang Giang, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Cashew Association, expressed the desire that the leaders of the Ministry of Industry and Trade should pay more attention to the development of a team of counsellors and trade attachés, because the number of these forces was now small in relation with very big workload. The Ministry of Industry and Trade should pay attention to the human resources, material resources and financial resources to assist staff in supporting enterprises in foreign markets better.
Mr Tran Tan Thien, Director of Hello 5 Coffee Company, said that enterprises need to actively seek information and then actively contact trade counsellors to understand the potential markets and do not expect too much from trade counsellors to serve all the large number of Vietnamese businesses.

Despite the positive results in the past time, delegates also commented that the work of the counsellors, overseas marketing have been still limited. Hopefully in the future, the Vietnamese counsellors abroad will work harder to overcome difficulties to contribute to speeding up the integration of economic development, and step by step raise the position of Vietnam in the international arena.

Nguyen Viet Hung

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