With high demand, low barriers, and medium high product quality requirements, Africa and Latin America are considered emerging markets for Vietnamese goods. An insight by the Ministry of Industry and Trade's online Vietnam Economic News.

Export is one of the bright spots of economic activities last year with total revenue of 132.2 billion USD, up 15.4 percent compared with 2012, a ccording to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Exports to new and small markets such as Africa and Latin America experienced apparent growth rates in the context that Vietnamese exports to the traditional markets faced difficulties. Africa was the market with the highest export growth rate of 28 percent, reaching 2 billion USD, while Latin America hit a growth rate of 23.1 percent, reaching 28 billion USD. To continue with better results in the time to come, increased proportion of Vietnamese exports to these markets will be aimed at.

Speaking about export orientation for 2014, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang insisted that Vietnamese exporters should gradually increase the proportion of Vietnam’s exports to African markets and Latin America along with traditional markets.

Thanks to their high quality and reasonable prices, Vietnam's exports have gradually won lots of customers in African and Latin American countries. They have also taken advantages from free trade agreements (FTAs) signed and implemented between Vietnam and these countries. For example, the Vietnam - Chile FTA that officially took effect from early 2014 promises to increase two-way trade revenue and help Vietnamese goods penetrate deeper into the Latin American market.

According to Vietnamese Commercial Counselor in Chile Tran Dinh Van, since 2010, export revenue of Vietnam to Chile consistently achieved over 20 percent growth rates annually, and last year it reached about 250 million USD. The Vietnam - Chile FTA takes effect and will create the premise for raising the proportion of Vietnamese exports to this market. In addition, it can also help increase the volume of Vietnamese exports to other Latin American countries as Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Colombia already established the Pacific Alliance, the largest regional trade organisation that makes up to 50 percent of Vietnam’s total import and export value to Latin America.

Rice is a major export to African countries. A series of memos on rice trade promotion have been signed between Vietnam, Guinea-Bissau and Comoros in order to facilitate direct exporters to these markets. In particular, the Vietnam - Guinea-Bissau memorandum of collaborative trade and industry signed in early 2014 will act as a bridge for Vietnamese goods to enter Guinea-Bissau and other West African countries as well.

However, exports to Africa and Latin America also have encountered difficulties in terms of geography, payment through intermediaries, market information, and stiff competition by countries with geographical proximity such as India and Pakistan.

According to Van, Latin America is a new and far market for Vietnam, so trade promotion activities in this market must be prepared carefully, especially cost calculation and trade promotion places as Latin America is divided into South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Vietnam's exports found it more advantageous in South American markets such as Brazil, Argentina and Peru. Exporters to ship commodities to Central American and Caribbean countries should select those in adjacency to save time and cost.

Memos have been signed between Vietnam and some African countries and are now facilitating direct payment.

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade will this year reduce market risks when exporting through intermediaries by organising more businesstrips for better building direct trade cooperation," head of the ministry’s Africa, Western and South Asia Markets Department’s Africa market Division Hoang Duc Nhuan said, adding that the ministry is focusing on a specific export scheme to remove barriers and promote rice export to this potential market.-VNA