Monday, August 21, 2017 - 20:48:48

Conference seeks to boost exports to Middle East

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Domestic experts have highlighted great potential and opportunities for the export of construction materials and wooden products to the Middle East at a conference recently held in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Quang Huy, Director of the African and West and South Asian Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, stressed the Middle East is in very high need of construction materials for a number of its underway projects, especially those in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries, totally worth 915 billion USD.

Saudi Arabia tops the region in terms of the number of construction projects, with 30 percent of the total. It now has more than 700 registered construction projects. Those completed last year are valued at a combined 61 billion USD. Other underway and planned projects are over 1 trillion USD.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Turkey and Kuwait also spend annually tens of billions of USD building infrastructure and civil work.

The Middle East annually purchases a large volume of wood and timber products from abroad as its production does not meet the existing domestic demand. The GCC countries have more than 1,000 furniture factories, but their production primarily depends on imported materials, Huy added.

Economic cooperation between Vietnam and Middle Eastern countries has seen fast development over the recent past. Two-way trade stood at only 3.3 billion USD in 2010 and nearly tripled in 2013. Wood and timber product exports to the market fetched about 109 million USD last year.

To further boost exports to the region, appropriate market entry strategies should be devised, with focus on meeting standards in terms of quality and environmental protection, experts said.

Tran Loan, Director of the Vietnam LP Entrepreneur Institute, suggested domestic producers and distributors need to open representative offices and showrooms in the market, so as to enable customers to easily access products.

Vietnamese firms have to update continuously information on business climate in Middle Eastern countries and changes in their trade policies, in addition to learning about habits and customs of the region and setting up links, said Nguyen Quoc Hai, trade councillor in Saudi Arabia.

Participants also agreed Vietnamese ministries and agencies should further enhance collaboration with their Middle Eastern counterparts, providing domestic firms with more support to penetrate into the market.-VNA
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