Continental Africa the next destination for Vietnam’s fashion industry hinh anh 1Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Director of Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade). (Photo: Vietnamplus)

Although the African market has seen significant growth in recent years, the trade relationship between Vietnam and the continent is not yet commensurate with its prospects, especially in the fashion industry, said Le Hoang Tai, deputy director of the Vietnam 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 organize the 2022 Vietnam - Africa business matching webinar on fashion products last week.

This was an activity to implement the National Program on Trade Promotion this year. The program supports 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.

Remarkable growth was recorded in trade turnover between Vietnam and Africa in 2021. Accordingly, Vietnam’s exports to Africa reached 3.36 billion USD, up 18.1 per cent compared to 2020.

Exports from Africa to Vietnam reached 4.71 billion USD, up 28.6 per cent compared to 2020.

"The demand for goods, including fashion products in Africa is increasing, but not many businesses and consumers know about Vietnamese diverse fashion products,” said Tai.

Meanwhile, the textile and garment and footwear manufacturing industry in Vietnam 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 of items, said Tai.

Assessing opportunities for business cooperation and investment with the Vietnamese fashion industry, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam 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.

Emphasizing opportunities for African businesses to invest in Vietnam, Mai said that the country implemented the policy of living with COVID-19 and had joined many FTAs.

If African businesses invested in Vietnam, they would have many opportunities to benefit, she noted.

Vietnam had implemented many administrative procedure reform programs, 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 the circular economy.

"With Vietnam’s strengths, we want African businesses to invest in the priority area of fabric production. Vietnam imports a lot of fabric from China and is gradually moving towards localization to benefit from the rules of origin from FTAs. We’d like to see green and clean investment in the fabric manufacturing sector using renewable energy and 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 is 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 Vietnam is importing from West and Central Africa, I think that in the near future, we can increase the amount of cotton from Africa to have a win-win partnership," she noted./.