Vietnam-Mali trade exchange forecast to fall this year hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Pretoria (VNA) Trade exchange between Vietnam and Mali in 2020 will plummet due to obstacles in transporting goods to Mali and difficulties related the embargo imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Mali, said Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in Algeria and Mali Hoang Duc Nhuan.

According to Nhuan, the economic sanctions of ECOWAS has had significant impacts on Mali in general and commercial relations between Vietnam and Mali in particular.

Vietnamese businesses need to keep a close watch on Mali's political developments and economic policy changes, and be cautious in transactions amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the transaction blockade by the Central Bank of West African States.

Currently, a number of problems have occurred such as the goods arriving at ports later than the schedule due to COVID-19, the goods could not be transported to Mali due to its neighboring countries closed borders with the Western African country, or importers cannot make payments from any bank in Mali due to the blockade of international transactions, Nhuan said.

Vietnamese businesses should learn about partners clearly to avoid commercial risks, he added.

Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that Vietnam’s exports to Mali in 2019 hit 38.9 million USD, up nearly 11 times compared to the previous year, with major exports such as crude oil, cement, aquatic products, pepper, rice, and plastic products. Meanwhile, Vietnam spent 28.49 million USD on importing goods from the Western African country, mainly cotton, cashew nut, copper, computer, and steel products.

ECOWAS comprises 15 Western African nations, including Mali. The community imposed economic sanctions on Mali after a coup in the country last month. ECOWAS announced the closure of land and air borders and cessation of all economic, commercial and financial transactions between the 14 member states and Mali, and urged its partners to do the same.

The organisation said it has temporarily removed Mali from ECOWAS policy-making bodies. After the decision, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) sent a letter to its member banks and financial institutions, requesting them to suspend transactions with Mali./.