Vietnam’s exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) see promising future as the region is now a potential market for Vietnamese farm produce, processed goods and equipment.

The Department of African, West and South Asian Markets under the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that two-way trade between Vietnam and the GCC, which groups Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saw rapid growth, rising by more than 12.4 times from 392.4 million USD in 2003 to 4.87 billion USD in 2012.

Last year, Vietnam earned 2.69 billion USD from exports to the GCC, an increase of 28.1 times from 95.6 million USD in 2003. The country imported 269.8 million USD worth of commodities from the region in 2003, rising by 7.3 times to hit 2.18 billion USD in 2012.

Vietnamese goods are becoming more and more popular in the GCC market, the department said.

During the reviewed period, Vietnam’s export structure to the GCC extended from farm produce, consumer and processed goods to 39 commodity groups, many of which enjoyed surges in turnover.

Vietnam’s revenue from mobile phone and component exports reached 1.7 billion USD in 2012, up 331.2 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 63.5 percent of the country’s total exports to the region. It was followed by computers, seafood and pepper.

A study conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade shows that the GCC market has a buoyant demand for goods that Vietnam has strength in, for example textiles and garments, footwear, seafood, wood products, farm produce (pepper, rice, tea, cashew nuts and coffee), food and foodstuffs, construction materials, handicrafts, mobile phones, computers and electronic components.

Despite a small population of 48 million, GCC countries are developed economies with rich natural resources like oil, gas, iron, copper, gold and aluminium ores.

Per capita average income in this region is over 30,000 USD per year. Qatar takes the lead with 106,000 USD in 2012.

Therefore, the GCC is assessed as a market with strong purchasing power and good payment capacity.

In the first half of this year, Vietnam exported goods worth 176.6 million USD, 15.7 million USD and nearly 2 billion USD to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE respectively.-VNA