The Ministry of Industry and Trade has urged Vietnamese exporters to reap the gains of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) by tapping into foreign markets.

Speaking at a recent conference on FTAs in Hanoi, the Ministry of Industry and Trade representative, Hoang Van Phuong, emphasised the importance of Vietnam 's economic integration with global trade.

Phuong said only 33 percent of Vietnamese goods exported to FTA countries enjoyed preferential tariffs from the agreement.

He said Vietnam's average growth rate of exports to members of the ASEAN community; China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India, was more than 20 percent while that of exports to the world market was 15 percent.

He added that businesses will be more able to meet export potential by meeting requirements for Certificates of Origin (CO).

Statistics from the ministry showed that export turnover using COs last year reached 18 billion USD, accounting for 33.6 percent of exports under Vietnam 's FTAs.

Deputy head of the ministry's Import-Export Department Tran Thanh Hai said a sharp decrease in tariffs will provide opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to boost exports.

Vietnam 's exports to FTA markets have seen high growth in recent years, with the country's exports to ASEAN rising 27 percent in 2012.

In the same year, exports to Japan jumped 25 percent, while trade with China and the RoK increased 17 and 18 percent respectively.

Vietnam has signed eight FTAs, including eight ASEAN nations and Chile.

Meanwhile, the country has been an active participant in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while conducting FTAs negotiation with the EU and the RoK.

In spite of these developments, Vietnamese businesses continue to struggle to take advantage of such agreements.

Hai said several enterprises have not paid attention to changing tariffs and are not investing or restructuring to meet C/O standards.

The ministry said they will continue to support multilateral trade under the WTO to access to trade markets.-VNA