Vietnamese agro-fishery businesses are eyeing up the untapped opportunities in the Finnish market, since Vietnamese products only accounted for 4 percent of the European country’s 400-million-EUR annual imports of farm produce and seafood, an economist explained.

According to Claudio Karjalainen, Director of the Finnish company Finnsea, Finland is not only an attractive market for Vietnamese businesses but also acts as a gateway for Vietnamese products to Russian and Northern European markets.

Finnish consumers are increasingly interested in imported products, especially salmon, tuna and other kinds of fish, he said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on November 11 to introduce the Finnish market and cooperation mechanisms for Vietnamese and Finnish firms.

However, some experts at the event said imported raw seafood products from developing countries are not popular in the Finnish market, adding that the Scandinavian country mainly buy seafood from its neighbours.

They, therefore, recommended that Vietnamese firms carefully research the market and assess their products’ competitiveness, while strengthening their presence in the Finnish market with frozen seafood and processed goods.

Meanwhile, Vietnam should promote its strengths in a number of products, like basa fish, tuna and shrimp, they said.

Nguyen The Hung, Vice Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Ho Chi Minh City branch, said VCCI has worked on a Finnish-funded project to support domestic enterprises in penetrating the Finnish market.

The conference, which was organised as part of the project’s framework, aims to update businesses on the characteristics of the Finnish and Northern European markets, whilst providing tools that enable firms to access the market and seek partnerships more easily, he said.

Vietnam mainly exports coffee, rubber, footwear, apparel and handicrafts to Finland, while importing machinery and equipment, telecommunications, and plastics, he noted.

During the first eight months of the year, total trade between the two countries reached 171 million USD, including nearly 70 million USD worth of Vietnamese exports, he added.-VNA