Vietnam mainly exports mobile phones, footwear, garment-textile, rice, pepper, wood and timber products, cashew nuts, fruits and vegetable and coffee to the Middle East market (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Besides traditional markets such as the US, EU and Japan, Vietnamese enterprises should make inroads into the Middle East market, according to experts.

The Middle East is a market with more than 400 million people and 16 countries. This region imports some 40 billion USD worth of food per year, which is projected to hit 70 billion USD by 2035.

Over the past few years, trade between the Middle East and Vietnam has grown to reach 8.06 billion USD in 2016 and 12 billion USD in 2017, with Vietnam exporting 9 billion USD and importing 3 billion USD worth of goods.

Vietnam mainly exported mobile phones, footwear, garment-textile, rice, pepper, wood and timber products, cashew nuts, fruits and vegetable and coffee.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Middle Eastern nations have big purchasing power with annual average gross domestic product per capita of 60,000 – 127,000 USD.

Consumption products and farm produce are the two main import products in the region.

Moreover, the Middle East is an entrepot to other markets in North Africa and Central Asia. 

President of Intimex Group and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Coffee and Cacao Association Do Ha Nam said the Middle East has big demand for rice, coffee, pepper and aquatic products.

He advised businesses to penetrate the market through Dubai because this is one of the most open economies and the gateway of goods to the region.

Businesses should participate in trade fairs in Dubai to meet with partners from the Middle East and neighbouring regions.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested Vietnamese exporters study business customs as well as regulations and certificates to export to the Middle East.

Deputy head of the ministry’s Asia-Africa Market Department Le Thai Hoa said the Middle East is known as a potential market with high import demand without strict quality requirements.

To enable domestic firms to boost exports to the region, the Vietnamese Government will simplify administrative procedures on tax and reduce time for customs at international ports, he said.

Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade abolished thousands of unnecessary administrative procedures to aid local exporters, he added.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) branch in Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen The Hung said the agency has held a number of exchange programmes and survey tours for Vietnamese businesses to explore foreign markets.

To increase connectivity between Middle East and Vietnamese enterprises, the United Arab Emirates’s Relam Investment and Vietnam’s MIG Holdings signed a cooperation agreement to launch Trade Hub in Vietnam – a platform operating in many countries to connect online trade. 

The Trade Hub is set to go into operation in July 2018, connecting manufacturers, services suppliers, financial organisations and investors.-VNA