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Vietnam eyes African markets
  • | Tuoi Tre | December 17, 2010 06:24 PM

Vietnam will use South Africa and Tanzania as export gateways to southern and eastern Africa, a Vietnamese trade official said after visiting the two countries this month.

Ly Quoc Hung, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Africa – West Asia – East Asia Department, said he paid special attention to South Africa which spends half of its total import on food, footwear, and clothing - Vietnam’s core exports.

Tanzania, being a poor country, has to import almost all kinds of goods, he added.

Vietnamese coffee, rubber, footwear, textile and garment, peppercorns, furniture, and plastic products are well liked in these countries, he said.

But he admitted Vietnam faces challenges in cracking the markets: customers there have little knowledge of its products while competition from China, Thailand, and Indonesia will be fierce.

Vietnamese firms need to carefully research the markets and undertake trade promotion to penetrate them, he said.

Understanding the countries’ culture and consumer behavior are vital, he pointed out.

The firms should keep in touch with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnamese representative agencies in those markets to get updates and other information.

Trade between Vietnam and South Africa, which was worth US$378.32 million last year, topped $500 million in the first 10 months this year, a 25 percent rise.

With Tanzania, bilateral trade was worth $67.9 million last year, a 41 percent increase over 2008. It jumped to $72.1 million in the first three quarters of this year.

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