Bolstering Trade and Investment Promotion to Support Businesses

12:47:03 PM | 9/20/2022

Trade promotion, connection and cooperation between Vietnamese enterprises and foreign markets have become more and more vibrant after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam's export value totaled nearly US$252.6 billion in the first eight months of 2022, up 18.2% or US$38.85 billion over the same period of 2021, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The merchandise trade balance was estimated to make a surplus of US$3.96 billion.

Vietnam is a largely open economy with trade relations established with 230 countries and territories and free trade agreements (FTAs) signed with 60 economies. Therefore, trade promotion is particularly important to support Vietnamese businesses to expand and access the global market, connect and join more deeply in global value chains and production networks, including major export markets, especially those with FTAs like the United States, Canada, China, the EU, China, ASEAN, Japan and South Korea.

Substantive business connection

Direct trade and investment promotion to support enterprises to access import and export markets is being widely deployed. Mr. Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under Ministry of Industry and Trade, said, Vietrade has been coordinating with Vietnamese trade offices abroad to organize over 60 exporter and importer export market consultative sessions for Vietnamese importers and exporters to support localities, trade associations and enterprises within the framework of the "Program of instructing and assisting enterprises to access and apply export and import regulations, standards and conditions with foreign markets and international commitments on exported and imported products.”

The prioritized focus for professional trade promotion capacity-building support and consultation for enterprises, associations and central and local trade promotion agencies helps spread and boost the scope and scale of governmental support for trade promotion to the business community than before. According to Mr. Tai, industry associations should pay special attention to positioning, developing export promotion plans, and identifying target markets to develop marketing strategies to promote product images and brands to achieve the highest effect and sustainability.

Besides physical trade promotion, online promotion is also launched. Mr. Tai said, trade promotion agencies have actively applied information technology and digital transformation to trade promotion, hence supporting the business community to gradually adapt and utilize the advantages of trade promotion in the digital environment. Trade promotion has connected millions of Vietnamese companies with foreign countries, importers, and Vietnamese commercial counselors abroad to help them save cost in trade promotion while still keeping contact with customers, increasing market reaches, new customers and potential customers to create a premise for promoting physical (direct) trade promotion right after the pandemic was contained.

Mr. Le Hoang Tai said the construction of information technology applications and digital transformation in trade promotion includes digital trade promotion ecosystem foundations; a trading connection platform in a digital environment that applies new technologies, supports information search, domestic and international business opportunities; virtual exhibition and fair platforms; and e-identification platform for trade promotion.

“In the past, we have cooperated with some international e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba to operate the ‘Vietnam National Pavilion’ on these platforms. Indeed, companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have approached the e-commerce system with positive results," he added.

“Covering” online and offline trade promotion channels

Direct trade promotion helps Vietnamese enterprises have higher competitive advantages. In particular, the import of foreign materials, machinery, equipment and technology is also considered a solution to sharpen competitiveness. Mr. Nobuyuki Matsumoto, Chief Representative of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Ho Chi Minh City, said, Japanese businesses are looking for strong domestic partners to supply materials or components in Vietnam. In the opposite direction, an AJC representative hopes that Japanese businesses will share advanced technologies with Vietnamese businesses to jointly build green growth and environmentally sustainable economic systems.

In the Vietnam-Japan Agricultural Promotion Program, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is carrying out Vietnamese and Japanese business connection programs in agriculture and private investment in localities, said Mr. Kubo Yoshitomo, Deputy Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office. The programs will help businesses of both sides exchange market demand information with producers and traders, build a database and analyze food value chains, thus fostering local agricultural development.

By participating in networking forums, many local businesses have access to potential investment sources. Mr. Nguyen Van De, Director of Nghe An Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, with the support and connection from Japanese experts and businesses, Nghe An province has one more important channel to more easily connect investment cooperation between enterprises of the two sides. "This is also a chance to connect and invite Japanese businesses to explore investment cooperation opportunities in Nghe An province. Hopefully, many contracts will be signed in the coming time," he said.

On the import side, many Vietnamese purchasing companies have paid attention to trade promotion programs to match Vietnamese and Japanese companies launched by JETRO Hanoi, including an exhibition on Japanese agricultural, aquatic and food products.

As for South Korea, the Vietnam Technology Advice and Solutions from Korea (VITASK) Center is running the "Connecting Korea" Program to support Vietnamese businesses to easily access long-term loans for production expansion and technological investment, its representative said.

As for online promotion channels, according to the Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency (IDEA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, over the past time, industry and trade authorities of provinces and cities such as Bac Kan, Bac Giang, Son La, Hung Yen, Binh Dinh and Can Tho have accelerated the use of e-commerce platforms to supporting people to sell agricultural products.

IDEA Director Dang Hoang Hai said, from now until the end of 2025, the agency will coordinate with e-commerce platforms to launch a program to support enterprises to apply the national e-commerce application -, aiming to assist 200,000 companies to use e-commerce applications such as digital transformation software, electronic payment application and multi-channel marketing chain.

According to Alibaba, about 2,000 Vietnamese companies are currently selling their products on On average, a Vietnamese supplier of agricultural and aquatic products has a chance to contact about 15 potential buyers every day or more than 450 new buyers per month. Reportedly, using e-commerce, Vietnamese suppliers of agricultural products can contact international customers and export their products to many new markets.

According to a report by Amazon Global Selling Vietnam, Vietnam's cross-border retail sales of goods are estimated to grow by over 20% annually, expected to reach VND256.1 trillion by 2026. This report said e-commerce will be the 5th strongest export sector in Vietnam in the next five years. 

Huong Ly (Vietnam Business Forum)