Vietnam – Zero Asean tariffs, promising export avenue

Vietnam export in the first two months of 2017

In the first two months of 2017, Vietnam exported goods worth US$2.9 billion to ASEAN markets, up 15.9 percent from the same period in 2016.

The export growth is attributed, among other things, to the formation of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Community in December 2015, mandating a lifting of most trade tariffs. Along with concerns about a flood of zero-tariff, ASEAN goods entering Vietnam and competing with domestic products, AEC is offering a sea of opportunities for local exporters.

The Quang Vinh Ceramics Co Ltd (Hanoi), for example, is an experienced exporter of goods in Vietnam to such major markets as the US and the EU. In recent years, the ASEAN tariff zeroing road map has attracted the company’s interest in exporting goods to ASEAN markets. The company has exported ceramic and porcelain products to Laos, a first step of its penetration into the Southeast Asian market.

To benefit from the ASEAN tariff zeroing, the Dai Dong Tien Company has accelerated household appliance exports to Thailand, Myanmar and other ASEAN markets in recent years. Company products have attracted consumers, while its exports have increased significantly in value.

Many other Vietnamese companies have increased exports to ASEAN markets. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, ASEAN has been a key market for Vietnamese goods for many years.

Apart from crude oil and rice, textile and garment, footwear, seafood, coffee, rubber, computers, electronic parts and components and steel and iron of different kinds from Vietnam have carved out a niche in ASEAN markets.

With their high quality and tastes satisfying ASEAN consumers, many Vietnamese products, including Dien Quang bulbs, Hoa Phat steel, Bibica confectionery, Nhon Hoa weight, Thien Long ball-point pens, Bidrico beverages and Cholimex chilli sauce, among others, have become familiar to ASEAN consumers.

Despite the great potential, increasing exports to ASEAN markets is not easy due to tough competition from products of the same kind from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other member states. To confront the competition, Vietnamese businesses are advised to continuously renovate products, improve product and service quality, carry out thorough market research, build connectivity to form distribution channels, and pay attention to non-tariff barriers such as food hygiene and safety standards. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said it will carry out national trade promotion activities and assist businesses to connect and better trade with potential ASEAN markets.