Covid-19 offers Việt Nam opportunity to boost exports to Latin America
Mercosur countries, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, could be a potentially lucrative market for Vietnamese exports such as textile and garment, footwear, handicrafts, and processed foods amid the disruption of many traditional supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an online conference between Việt Nam and the South American bloc heard on October 1.
Mercosur is the fifth largest economic entity in the world with more than 275 million consumers and GDP of US$4.58 trillion.
Đỗ Thắng Hải, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Việt Nam has enjoyed consistent growth in trade with Mercosur in the last decade.
Their trade grew 2.5 times in the period to reach $8.68 billion last year. Việt Nam’s exports were worth $2.7 billion.
Việt Nam has set up dialogue mechanisms with most of the bloc’s members to promote the economy, trade and investment, and is negotiating a trade deal with Mercosur, Hải said.
The pandemic caused trade between the two sides to fall by 1.66 percent year-on-year to $5.53 billion in the first eight months of this year.
Việt Nam’s ambassador to Argentina, Dương Quốc Thanh, said in the last five years annual trade between the two countries has been around $3 billion, making Việt Nam Argentina’s largest trade partner in the ASEAN bloc, and this year it could reach $4 billion.
But Việt Nam’s exports to Argentina are only worth $500 million, or 1.4 per cent of that country’s total imports, he said.
Việt Nam sells garment feedstock, footwear, machinery and equipment, and parts, and imports animal feed, corn, wheat, and some seafood.
There is huge potential for Việt Nam to sell its products, Thanh added.
The ambassador to Brazil, Phạm Thị Kim Thoa, said while Vietnamese seafood, footwear, processed food, beverages, and toys are popular, its exports only account for 1.5 per cent of Brazil’s total imports.
According to an the Việt Nam Trade Office in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, Mercosur is a promising market for Vietnamese exports because their economic structures are complementary rather than competitive.
The Vietnamese envoys expected Mercosur to restructure its supply chains post-pandemic and said Vietnamese firms would then have a huge opportunity to increase their market share. – VNS