Promoting Vietnamese Agricultural Products in Middle East-North Africa Region
|Cashew nuts are one of the agricultural products Vietnam exports to the Middle East market. Photo: congthuong.vn
Room for Vietnamese export
The Middle East-North Africa region is a potential market with a population of nearly 500 million people with high demand and spending levels for imported agricultural and aquatic products that Vietnamese businesses have strengths in, such as seafood, rice, tea, pepper, anise, cinnamon, cashew, vegetables, fruits and processed foods.
With harsh natural conditions that are not suitable for agricultural development to meet domestic demand, this is a market with a lot of room for Vietnamese export enterprises to promote their potential.
However, the current promotion of Vietnam's agricultural products in the region still faces many difficulties including differences in language, culture, legal systems and business practices.
Vietnam's trade and distribution network in the region is still limited, logistics costs are still high.
Statistics show that in the first 10 months of 2023, Vietnam's export turnover to the Middle East increased by 4%, and to North Africa increased by 9.4%.
Agriculture, forestry and fishery products are still the main export products to this market, of which, coffee exports to Algeria reached more than US$116 million, up 67% over the same period last year.
Seafood exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 36.4%, cashew nuts to UAE increased by 59.9%, Egypt increased by 58.7%, tea to Iraq increased by 48.7%, rice to Turkey increased 3 times.
At the seminar "Improving the effectiveness of promoting Vietnamese agricultural products in the Middle East-North Africa region," Bui Ha Nam, director general of the Middle East and Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the world economy in 2023 continued to face difficulties, significantly affecting Vietnam's import and export situation.
In that context, the markets of Middle East-North African countries emerged as a bright spot in Vietnam's trade picture with the world.
It is difficult for businesses to export to this market because Algeria restricts imports, so import taxes are high. For more information on this issue, Vietnamese Ambassador to Algeria Tran Quoc Khanh said that if businesses want to export to Algeria, they need to change from an export mindset to a cooperative mindset.
Khanh explained that when processed export products enter this market, it is difficult to compete with European goods due to long-distance transportation costs.
Businesses should consider on-site production and processing, taking advantage of the strengths of this market when Algeria has competitive electricity prices, land, and support from the Government.
Researching market information
Hoang Thi Bich Diep, head of the Trade Promotion Department, the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association, said that Vietnamese businesses currently still lack partner market information, laws, and customs of the host countries.
The limited logistics network in the region also prevents businesses from choosing to export to this market.
To boost the promotion of agricultural products, experts say it is necessary to strengthen trade activities and participate in international fairs and exhibitions to introduce agricultural products to the region.
Trade promotion activities need to be organized with focus, better grasping the needs and tastes of the market, and utilizing potential well and effectively, in accordance with local and business capabilities.
Vietnam needs to take advantage of available resources and systems on-site such as representative agencies, Vietnamese trade agencies, supermarkets and restaurants in the region.
This is to display and introduce agricultural, forestry and fishery products in the most intuitive way to consumers.
Coordination between state and local management agencies, associations and businesses is needed not only in the field of export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products but also in related fields, such as transportation and logistics to make the most of resources and support each other for mutual development.
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