Export Promotion on Digital Platform

9:54:10 AM | 2/18/2021

In the face of numerous difficulties in 2020, the export sector managed to reach the finish line in spectacular fashion. One of the keys for exporters to live through difficulties is the well-prepared launch of trade promotion on digital platforms. Mr. Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, granted an exclusive interview to Vietnam Business Forum’s reporter on this issue. Huong Ly reports.

Could you please tell us about the initial success of trade promotion on digital platforms in the past time?

In the context of the complicated COVID-19 pandemic development, conventional trade promotion activities such as conferences, seminars, trade fairs and exhibitions held in Vietnam and other countries had to be canceled or delayed. Therefore, to promptly support businesses to overcome difficulties due to market disruptions and take advantage of new-generation FTAs, Vietrade advised the Minister of Industry and Trade to direct relevant units to guide and support localities, associations and businesses to apply information technology and digital platforms to trade promotion.

Vietrade pioneered in digital trade promotion like organizing online trade conferences, organizing and joining virtual fairs and exhibitions and online booths, boosting support for businesses to export through major world e-commerce platforms (like Amazon, Alibaba and Global Source); advertising Vietnamese branded products; and organizing online training. While applying totally new trade promotion forms in volatile market conditions, but with the positive response of localities and the business community, Vietrade successfully organized over 500 international online conferences and over one million online trading sessions for Vietnamese import-export enterprises with foreign partners in all five continents including large and traditional markets such as Japan, China, Korea, the United States, EU and potential distant markets such as Chile, Mexico, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Online trading activities have also promptly and successfully supported localities with highly seasonally dependent agricultural products and vegetables such as Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Son La, Ca Mau, Dak Lak provinces.

Fortunately, up to now, the Ministry of Industry and Trade in coordination with localities, associations and businesses nationwide has replicated the form of online trading, which has become a very effective export promotion approach. Millions of Vietnamese and foreign enterprises have been supported via online trading through seminars in the fields of textiles and leather and footwear, vegetables, wood products and handicrafts. Products participating in online trading promotion for export are very diversified, including anti- pandemic products, agricultural products, food products, consumer products, interior and exterior decoration and construction materials, footwear, sports products. Inputs imported for domestic production are also promoted on online trading.

Would you describe some specific support solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2021?

To respond to economic recovery scenarios and solutions directed by the Government to enable the economy to overcome difficulties and welcome new opportunities after the pandemic and take advantage of opportunities from FTAs, it is necessary to revamp the entire economy, as well as trade, import and export activities. As for trade promotion, on the basis of assessing initial outcomes of recent online trade promotion, we believe that consistent solutions are needed to improve the effectiveness of information technology application to trade promotion.

Vietrade is timely amending and supplementing some new regulations, effectively responding to natural disasters and pandemics to create a suitable and favorable legal corridor for domestic organizations and enterprises to speed up information technology application in trade promotion, export promotion, and brand promotion through the digital environment.

In the coming time, Vietrade will directly guide and coordinate with localities and trade promotion agencies in the country to accelerate information technology application to trade promotion such as business matching conferences and training programs; attend major online fairs and exhibitions in the world to introduce Vietnamese export products; and implement a trade promotion traceability system and a shared import and export data system covering commodities and markets.

In particular, Vietrade is building and establishing a complete trade promotion ecosystem application (App on web and smartphone - VECOBIZ), which is a platform integrating trade promotion services such as management of fairs, exhibitions, trade promotion events, B2B connection, consultation, training, trade promotion. The Ministry of Industry and Trade aims to introduce this application to Vietnamese and international businesses from the middle of quarter 2 of 2021.

To mobilize and prepare resources for Vietnam's trade promotion system, Vietrade will strengthen communications and training businesses, business support agencies and trade promotion officials of localities and trade associations in order to improve accessibility to new online trade promotion forms; and provide information about markets, industries, and export-import demands for businesses.

What should Vietnamese enterprises prepare to apply information technology and digital platforms to trade promotion?

Currently, many businesses in Vietnam are still struggling to find new ways to survive and develop in the digital age. The fear of loss or fear of change is the biggest barrier to digital transformation at businesses, especially in trade promotion, supply-demand connection and product launch/marketing.

In the coming time, Vietnamese businesses need to prepare for their own long-term strategies for business, technology application, product and service development and human resources. Besides, they need to actively utilize digital platforms, focusing on developing websites and social networks to interact with customers to approach and develop markets.

They need to actively and carefully study free trade agreements and appropriate digital transformation trends and models. At the same time, they need to fully prepare human and financial resources as well as other necessary conditions to meet market requirements. Besides, businesses need to actively coordinate with trade promotion organizations to develop plans and participate in the implementation of trade promotion activities to ensure real, feasible and effective trade promotion activities. They are supposed to boldly invest in trade promotion at home and abroad, improve the capacity of the staff working on trade promotion to professionalize the implementation capacity and maximize the efficiency of trade promotion activities.  

Source: Vietnam Business Forum