Africa and the Middle East are potential markets for Vietnamese businesses to boost investment.

A workshop was held in Hanoi on June 25 to highlight opportunities and challenges while entering the two regions, which together count 70 countries with a population of over 1.2 billion.

Deputy Director of the Middle East, Africa, West and South Asia Markets Department Pham Trung Nghia said African countries have a huge demand for consumer commodities and equipment, while those from the Middle East cater for farm produce and seafood.

As of April, Vietnam’s exports to Africa was up 14.1 percent, with major markets such as South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria and Ghana mainly purchasing computer, electronics and spare parts, footwear, farm produce and aquatic products.

Nghia said businesses should be patient to fully tap the potential of the markets as the shipments must meet some specific regulations and standards. For example, brand names and information about the products must be in English, French or the host’s languages.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has posted an annual trade surplus of around 1 billion USD with Africa in recent years.

Two-way trade surged to nearly 7 billion USD in 2013 from around 4.7 billion USD a year earlier.

Turkey, Israel and the United Arabia Emirates are key Middle Eastern markets of Vietnam.-VNA