Vietnam 's exports to Thailand last year were up sharply in terms of both volume and value, and they could increase further if businesses made better use of market opportunities, a trade official said.

Vietnamese goods sold in Thailand include processed foods, confectionery, processed fruits, food, fresh and dried fish, and building materials, Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vietnamese trade counsellor in Thailand , said.

They were present in most northern Thai provinces, even in remote areas, and ethnic Vietnamese living in Thailand like Vietnamese dried fruits produced by Vinamit Company and office stationery made by Thien Long Group Corporation.

The historic flooding in Thailand last year greatly affected manufacturing activity there, causing Thai companies to revert to imports, including from Vietnam , to meet domestic demand as well as for re-export.

Thai firms are seeking to import Vietnamese farm produce, fruit and vegetables, especially kohlrabi, longan, and Thieu litchi.

With the harvest seasons occurring at different times in Vietnam and Thailand , Vietnamese goods have the opportunity to enter the market with efficient trade promotion.

There is great potential even for export of auto, motorbike, and electronic parts.

Thai consumers appreciate Vietnamese goods since they are of better quality than Chinese products.

But Vietnamese firms had to improve design of their goods and diversify products.

They should be more active in participating in international trade fairs since this offers a good opportunity for them to market their products not only to Thais but also other foreign buyers.

They should also ensure stable supply of their products, something some companies had failed to causing difficulties for importers.

Vietnamese firms have to join hands to penetrate other markets rather than undercut each other. /.