Customers shop at a supermarket (Source: tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn)
HCM City (VNA) – Vietnam’s retail turnover is expected to rise to 179 billion USD by 2020, according to the Association of Vietnam Retailers.

Speaking at the ceremony to open the association’s representative office in HCM City on September 13, Ha Tuan Anh, its chief representative, said the sector has grown strongly, with annual revenues increasing from 40 billion USD eight years ago to around 100 billion USD now.

Dinh Thi My Loan, AVR Chairwoman, said the sector’s huge potential attracted a lot of local and foreign investors, especially in HCM City, the country’s economic hub.

Opening a representative office would enable the association to expand and develop the relationship between retailers and producers in the city, she said.

The opening ceremony was followed by a seminar on improving policy advocacy and the quality of suggestions made for creating laws and policies.

According to Loan, policies and legal documents have a huge impact on businesses.

Legal policies, especially those affecting the retail sector, continue to have shortcomings and overlap and do not fit the current socio-economic situation.

Besides, the enforcement of what policies there is weak.

The key reasons include weak policy advocacy and inadequate contribution of ideas to policy making by business groups, organisations and others.

Business groups and enterprises have become aware of the importance of policy advocacy and many are actively working on this, but many businesses are still indifferent.

However, "things are in the early stages yet and advocacy, even by AVR, is not systematic or methodical," she admitted.

"Policy advocacy is never simple and easy and needs perseverance, determination a unified voice, and cooperation among members and with other associations and scientists," she said.

Tran Ba Cuong of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said under a number of new generation of free trade agreements, Vietnam must open up its markets and domestic retailers would face fierce competition from foreign investors.

This required local firms to be more active in improving their competitiveness and take part in the regional and global value chains, he said.

"Firms need to be more active in taking part in negotiations and policy making related to the retail sector," he added.-VNA