Vietnamese ministries, agencies and businesses should strengthen cooperation and linkages to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese products in the international market and boost exports.

This is one of the measures to reduce difficulties for export businesses put forward by delegates who attended the Commercial Counsellor Conference 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City on December 22.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien, world economic fluctuations are posing many challenges for Vietnamese businesses.

Exporters, trade associations and organisations nationwide were urged to closely coordinate with Vietnamese representative agencies abroad, to access necessary information and support, increasing penetration, expanding export markets and building trademarks for Vietnamese goods.

Overseas representative agencies and localities nationwide should set up information exchanges to provide timely information and practical support to businesses, said Vice Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Hong.

She said HCM City pledges to periodically provide information on the investment situation, areas calling for investment and commodities seeking export markets.

According to a representative of the Dong Nai Department of Industry and Trade, local business import-export activities have faced many difficulties due to lack of information on export markets.

In addition to learning about the operations and demands of domestic enterprises and providing suitable support measures, Vietnamese representative agencies in foreign countries should ensure easy access to information sources for businesses, he said.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (RoK) Tran Dinh Toan, said Vietnam needs to narrow its bilateral trade deficit with the RoK by diversifying export commodities, finding the way into the country’s distribution system, taking advantage of tariffs and attracting more investment from the RoK.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and the RoK reached 18.1 billion USD in 2011, up 36 percent against last year, and is expected to hit 20 billion USD before 2015.

Nguyen Quang Trung, Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor in Japan , said that Japan will be one of the key potential markets for Vietnamese exports in 2012 with a large demand for imported goods to rebuild the country after earthquake and tsunami and serve domestic consumption.

However, Vietnam will face strong competition from many other countries like China , Laos , Cambodia and Myanmar boosting exports to this market, he said.

According to the Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor in the EU, Tran Trung Thuc, the EU will introduce new policies for commodities from developing countries which are expected to be applied in 2014.

Vietnamese businesses need to be aware of these draft policies in order to minimise possible risks and damages while exporting their products to this market in future, he said.

Vietnamese representative agencies abroad said that as countries and territories worldwide are shifting to green growth with the focus on environmentally friendly factors in production, goods exported from Vietnam must meet strict requirements on quality and food hygiene and safety.

In 2011, Vietnam recorded an export turnover of 96.3 billion USD, up 33 percent against 2010. Meanwhile, the country imported 108 billion USD of goods, an increase of 24 percent./.