Forum seeks ways to increase local goods’ competitiveness hinh anh 1At the event (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held a forum in Hanoi on October 29 to look at ways to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods and take advantage of new generation trade agreements.

Participants said new generation trade agreements could hold the keys to success for many Vietnamese enterprises, especially smaller firms, so they should be making every effort to seize opportunities they offer.

According to MoIT Deputy Minister Do Thang Hay, Vietnam is now a member of many new FTAs including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

“Participating in FTAs has helped the import and export market expand and diversify, and the financial services market become more developed with the participation of foreign investors, so institutional systems and policies must be completed to meet the requirements of integration and the implementation of these commitments,” he said.


“Along with the country's accession to the WTO in 2007, FTAs have contributed to boosting the country's GDP to more than 300 percent and increased import-export turnover by 350 percent,” he added.

Hai said while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and influencing the global economy, commodity retail in Vietnam has emerged as one of the bright spots for the macro economy.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), total estimated retail sales of consumer goods and services in the third quarter of 2020 reached 1,305 trillion VND (56.7 billion USD), an increase of 14.4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2020 and 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

In the first three quarters, retail sales of goods reached 2,907.1 trillion VND, an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year, GSO data showed.

“It is a positive result, clearly demonstrating the role of domestic goods during the unpredictable developments of epidemics and natural disasters. At the same time, it clearly shows the role of Vietnamese products in the domestic market because they are becoming increasingly favoured by consumers,” Hai told the forum.

According to a MoIT survey, Vietnamese products had become more appreciated and were being given priority by distributors and retailers in Vietnam. The proportion of Vietnamese products in modern distribution systems was high. Specifically, Vietnamese goods in Co.opmart accounted for between 90 percent and 93 percent; in Satra between 90 percent and 95 percent; in Vinmart 96 percent; in Vissan 95 percent and in Hapro 95 percent.

Mentioning local enterprises, Tran Duy Dong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said despite being an important development engine for the economy and accounting for about 98 per cent of the total number of enterprises, the majority of private enterprises are still small or micro, which prevents them from accumulating capital to invest in innovate technology, expand their production scale or improve management skills and human resources.

Considering many SMEs still had short-term mindsets, he said this makes it difficult for them to build trust with long-term partners to develop together for mutual benefit.

Dong added that Vietnam has not yet entered the ecosystem and value chain of leading foreign enterprises, saying currently Japanese companies, some of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, procured about 32.4 percent of services and input products from local suppliers while the rate was much higher in China, Thailand and Indonesia.

He also said that links between domestic and private foreign enterprises, and between small and large enterprises, remained negligible and limited.

As a member of the Advisory Group of the Government, Tran Dinh Thien said there were strong signs of potential in the country's private sector, but there were still many weak points after 35 years of renovation.

He said the FTAs also posed challenges for Vietnamese businesses because they were having to compete with more imported goods thanks to tariff preferences.

To change this, Thien said Vietnam must stop the principle of "ask - give" when allocating resources because it could lead to corruption, waste and distorting the entire market structure.

Regarding local enterprises racing to sell their products at home and overseas, Nguyen Thi Dong, the owner of Hoa Lan Company which produces natural cosmetic goods, said “We face unhealthy competition from fake and smuggled products from other countries.”  

Dong, who distributes her products to provinces across the country through local women's unions, said: “Even though we have more and more customers buying our natural products, it is still difficult competing with fake imported products.”

At the forum, Luong Van Thang, Chairman of Viet Tiep Lock Joint Stock Company, one of the biggest lock producers in Vietnam, said: “To enter export markets like the EU, we have invested in high technology and a protected trademark.”

Thang said investing in anti-counterfeiting and intellectual property was also a core issue that the company was focusing on to protect the brand and meet the strict standards of the FTAs. The firm planned to apply an anti-counterfeiting authentication process via QR codes to help consumers retrieve information about their locks on their smartphone apps, he said./.