Santiago (VNA) – Vietnamese enterprises can expand export markets to South American countries through Chile, Vietnamese Ambassador to Chile Pham Truong Giang told the Vietnam News Agency.
He emphasised that Chile is the first South American country that Vietnam has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with and both are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Prior to the FTA coming into effect, two-way trade turnover only reached nearly 500 million USD per year and Vietnam was always running a trade deficit. Vietnam has had a trade surplus with Chile since the FTA took effect in January 2014 and it is now the largest exporter to Chile among ASEAN members.
Two-way trade in the first nine months of this year topped 1.72 million USD with Vietnam’s exports standing at 1.38 million USD, up 11.8 percent year-on-year.
Vietnam and Chile have supplementary goods structures which could help boost economic cooperation, the diplomat said.
Vietnam exports to the Chilean market footwear, textiles and garments, and electronic products while importing raw materials for these types of products, Giang said.
Chile has a high demand for these essential products and the country’s living standards have improved significantly in recent years, leading to high purchasing power, therefore, there is a huge opportunity for Vietnamese consumer goods to enter this market, he noted.
However, the ambassador said that Vietnamese goods still have to compete with similar products with cheaper prices from China, India, Bangladesh and regional countries including Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia. Large shipping costs, long distance and language difficulties are also challenges facing Vietnamese businesses, he added.
The diplomat said in the future, the embassy will strengthen and diversify forms of promoting Vietnamese brands through its website and organise a Vietnam Products Week at retail systems and large supermarkets in Chile.
It will also conduct an intensive survey of the two free trade zones in the north and south of Chile to take advantage of the country’s role as a logistics centre in South America, reduce shipping costs and time for Vietnamese goods, and at the same time promote the exchange of experience and investment cooperation in renewable energy – a field of Chile’s interest and strength, he said./.