HÀ NỘI — Although there had been significant growth in recent years, the trade relationship between Việt Nam and Africa had not been commensurate with its prospects, especially in the fashion industry, said Lê Hoàng Tài, deputy director of the Việt Nam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade).
He noted that not many African businesses and consumers knew about Vietnamese fashion products.
The agency co-operated with Vietnamese trade offices in African countries to organise the 2022 Việt Nam – Africa business matching webinar on fashion products last week.
This was an activity to implement the National Programme on Trade Promotion this year to support Vietnamese enterprises in the production and trading of fashion products to promote advertising, seek partners, connect business opportunities and export to African markets.
The event attracted 50 Vietnamese and African businesses manufacturing and trading in fashion to attend.
Last year recorded a remarkable growth in trade turnover between Việt Nam and Africa. Accordingly, Việt Nam’s exports to Africa reached US$3.36 billion, up 18.1 per cent compared to 2020.
Exports from Africa to Việt Nam reached $4.71 billion, up 28.6 per cent compared to 2020.
“The demand for goods, including fashion consumer goods in Africa, is increasing, but not many businesses and consumers know about Vietnamese diverse fashion products,” said Tài.
Meanwhile, the textile and garment and footwear manufacturing industry in Việt Nam was very developed, meeting many large orders with high demand from many markets around the world, but the supply level for the African market only accounted for a very limited number and turnover, said Tài.
Assessing opportunities for business cooperation and investment with the Vietnamese fashion industry, Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Mai, deputy general secretary of the Việt Nam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas), said that with 55 countries and a population of more than 1.2 billion people, Africa’s economy had grown rapidly in recent years, leading to an increase in demand.
Currently, 43 of 55 African countries had joined the WTO. These countries had gradually removed non-tariff barriers and reduced import taxes.
Emphasising opportunities for African businesses to invest in Việt Nam, Mai said that the country implemented the policy of living with COVID-19 and had joined many FTAs.
If African businesses invested in Việt Nam, they would have many opportunities to benefit, she noted.
Việt Nam had implemented many administrative procedure reform programmes, promoted e-Government, and preferential policies for FDI enterprises.
She added that with abundant human resources, Vietnamese people were friendly and adapted quickly to new issues such as digital transformation or circular economy.
“With Việt Nam’s strengths, we want to call on African businesses to invest in Việt Nam to benefit. We want to call for investment here in the priority areas: fabric production. Currently, Việt Nam Nam imports a lot of fabric from China and is gradually moving towards localisation to benefit from the rules of origin from FTAs. We call on green and clean investment in the fabric manufacturing sector using renewable energy, applying the circular economy,” said Mai.
Mai assessed that the African market had great potential, and there was still a lot of room for Vietnamese enterprises.
It was necessary to survey and monitor statistics from trade counsellors to find opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises to export to Africa and invest in garment factories.
“With the amount of cotton Việt Nam is importing from West and Central Africa, I think that in the near future, if we have a good cooperation opportunity, we can still increase the amount of cotton that we are importing from Africa so that Việt Nam and the continent have win-win cooperation,” she said. — VNS