The products of HCM City and Laos are more complementary than competing in nature, meeting consumption and production demand of both sides. But their bilateral trade relation has not met the expectations of either side, according to the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC).
|Phoukham Ouanouansa, director of the Xieng Khouang Business Centre, said that he is looking for trading partners in HCM City to distribute rice and sticky rice. - VNS Photo
Trade between HCM City and Laos reached nearly US$8.01 million in 2017 compared to $12.7 million in 2016, with HCM City enjoying a trade surplus.
Speaking at a seminar on measures to enhance trade relations between HCM City and Laos held on the sidelines of the Laos Goods Week in HCM City, Pham Thiet Hoa, ITPC director, said: “There remain difficulties in border trade between Viet Nam and Laos, so this undermines two-way trade.”
Import-export support services and transport connections between the two countries are still underdeveloped, he said, adding that economic zones on the shared border were short of capital.
Vanxay Keovilay, Lao Vice Consul, said Lao enterprises see HCM City and Viet Nam in general as potential markets as Laos has an advantage in supplying traditionally farmed products with no use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and handicrafts made from natural materials.
Vietnamese consumers are very fond of organic agricultural products and handicrafts, which is good for Lao exporters, he said.
At the seminar, many producers and traders from different Lao localities introduced themselves and sought Vietnamese distributors for many kinds of regional specialty products.
Through the workshop, Keovilay said he hopes that businesses from both sides can understand more about each other’s markets, establish partnerships and propose solutions to further facilitate bilateral trade.
His consulate, in collaboration with Laos’ ministries and localities, are willing to answer questions related to trade promotion and the import-export business between the two countries, he said.
Phoukham Ouanouansa, director of the Xieng Khouang Business Centre, said that he is looking for trading partners in HCM City to distribute rice and sticky rice.
Currently, his partner in Nghe An Province imports 60 tonnes of rice and he will send to this partner another 1,000 tonnes in March.
Phoukham Ouanouansa also said he wants to sell Viet Nam’s high-quality products in Laos as well as provide consultancy to Vietnamese firms who want to invest in Xieng Khouang Province.
At the meeting, Vietnamese distributors advised the Lao businesses to develop standards for food products exported to Viet Nam in terms of food hygiene and safety.
Pham Thi Thanh Tuyen from Saigon Co.op suggested that Lao enterprises pay more attention to improving their product packaging and labels, as well as provide clear information about the products so that Vietnamese consumers can understand them.
In addition, although some Lao products are produced following natural or organic methods, their prices should not be too high, she said.
Organised by the consulate, ITPC and the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, the seminar attracted around 80 Lao and Vietnamese enterprises in the fields of fruits, vegetables, food processing, confectionery, beverage, plastic, cosmetics, handicrafts, garments and textiles, footwear, construction, design and environmental protection.