Vietnamese companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, need to use e-commerce more to strengthen their competitiveness in foreign trade, Le Dang Doanh, an economist and former member of the Government Advisory Council, has said.

Speaking at the 4th annual Supplier Day event organised in HCM City on March 31 by leading global wholesale online platform, he said e-commerce has become more important with the Vietnamese economy's regional and global integration.

This year Vietnam is likely to conclude a series of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.

Many free trade agreements will possibly be signed this year – like the Trans Pacific Partnership, EU-Vietnam FTA, Republic of Korea-Vietnam FTA, Vietnam-European Free Trade Association FTA, and Vietnam-Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union.

The low tax rates as part of these FTAs will expand Vietnam's foreign trade.

The Vietnam Textile and Garment Association expected the TPP to yield an additional 30 billion USD in textile exports by 2020 and 55 billion USD by 2030.

"Domestic businesses at that time will become global businesses with easy access to partners around the world".

E-commerce will be a key in helping businesses reduce marketing expenses, eliminating distances and do 24/24 online transactions with customers in various forms like B2B, B2C, and B2E.

Timothy Leung, head of global business development at - one of the B2B websites with the greatest participation by Vietnamese exporters – said: "We see significant growth in the number of registered members from Vietnam (129 percent) providing valuable products to buyers in different countries including the US, India, and China."

On average, 6,600 new members registere per month, he said. is an English-language global wholesale platform with registered users in over 240 countries and regions and thousands of product categories in more than 40 industries.

Leung added that in the near future new tools such as AliSourcePro to help suppliers identify quality buyers and Alibaba Biz Circle tool for members to exchange ideas and enable suppliers and buyers to better understand each other to explore new business opportunities will be launched.

Doanh said e-commerce revenues in Vietnam are set to hit 1.3 billion USD this year. But if e-commerce is to develop, Vietnamese consumers need to change their habit of using cash for payment.

Tran Dinh Toan, Deputy Director of OSB Co., said e-commerce is a useful tool for businesses to explore and expand markets and take advantage of untapped opportunities for global trade in the context of a fast-changing global economy.

By the end of last year Vietnam was seventh in Asia in terms of internet growth and 18th in the world.

According to the Internet World Stats, by June last year 43.9 percent of the country's population or 41 million people had access to the internet.

Supplier Day brought together over 300 businesses and experts who discussed how to grow their businesses globally.-VNA