A 525,000 EUR project was officially launched in Hanoi on November 12 to promote trade connectivity amongst Vietnamese enterprises, as well as between them and their trade partners in the European Union.

The three-year Trade Capacity Vietnam project (TCV) is part of a 16.5 million EUR European Trade Policy and Investment Support Project in Vietnam (EU-MUTRAP) for 2014-2017.

The project, which is being implemented by the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE) and the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the southern region, aims to enhance Vietnam’s integration into international trade and boost Vietnam-EU trade ties. It is also expected to support economic development, poverty reduction and national development.

At the same time, TCV will strengthen the engagement of associations in the development of trade policy and international investment, while building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over 150 Vietnamese SMEs are taking part in TCV, while a nuclear trade network comprising more than 300 Vietnamese SMEs will be set up to boost connections between domestic firms in this field, according to Nguyen Van Toan, VAFIE President and Project Director.

Meanwhile, a representative of the EU Delegation in Vietnam, Jean Jacques Bouflet, said the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, which is expected to be signed soon, will bring great opportunities to Vietnamese enterprises, including tax cuts for major products including apparel, seafood and footwear.

In order to make full use of the deal, Vietnamese SMEs should research the EU market and its consumers, while actively engaging with the EU distribution system, he said. The TCV project will help enterprises, especially SMEs, by improving their capacities and providing trade support, he added.

According to a report by VAFIE, the EU is currently one of Vietnam’s largest trade partners. Bilateral trade reached nearly 34 billion USD in 2013. This year, the EU committed 542 million EUR in ODA for Vietnam.-VNA