Doors open wider for Vietnam exports to the US

By Vien Thong   April 30, 2021 | 05:00 pm PT
Doors open wider for Vietnam exports to the US
Workers prepare lychees for exports in the northern province of Bac Giang. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
A large demand for agricultural produce and electronics products as well as rising e-commerce potential give Vietnamese exporters greater opportunities in the U.S. market, experts say.

The U.S. is a market with much potential for Vietnamese companies, especially as Vietnam has been able to keep the Covid-19 pandemic under control, said Nguyen Huu Tien, director of the HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Center.

The U.S. was Vietnam’s largest export market in the first four months with the value of shipments surging 50 percent year-on-year to $30.3 billion.

Top export categories included machinery and equipment, textile and garment, and computers and electronics.

Last year, Vietnamese exports to the U.S. ranked third in Asia after China and Japan.

Ken D. Duong, director of international law firm TDL, said that traditional categories such as agriculture produce and fisheries were posting strong figures despite the pandemic.

U.S. companies have stopped purchasing some hardwood products from China and are looking for alternative markets, he said, adding that last year, many Vietnamese companies were able to take advantage of this and got large orders.

Many Vietnamese-Americans are looking for suppliers in Vietnam to export products to the U.S., he added.

There are a lot of opportunities for electronics export because a number of American and Taiwanese firms have established factories in Vietnam to research and develop internet of things products.

"There are signals that indicate that Vietnam could become a hub for researching and manufacturing advanced tech products," Duong said.

Amazon Global Selling Wednesday announced a new campaign in partnership with the Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA) that would help Vietnamese sellers sell more products on Amazon.

But other experts said there were challenges that Vietnamese exporters face, such as trademarks. They cited the latest example of a Vietnamese rice brand, ST25, which won an international contest as the world’s best variety, being trademarked by a U.S. company.

Duong said that usually it costs $1,000-1,800 to register a trademark in the U.S. Around 50 percent of mid-sized Vietnamese companies in the U.S. register their brand and the ratio is just 10 percent for small firms.

Vietnamese suppliers need to understand U.S. regulations on intellectual property to step up in the global supply chain, he added.

Dang Hoang Hai, head of the iDEA, said that as many Vietnamese sellers are reluctant to export their products to the U.S. via e-commerce, his organization will provide more training to help hundreds of small and medium companies sell their products on Amazon.

Although there has been speculation about the U.S. rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), U.S. officials have said that this would not happen in the short-term.

Mary Tarnowka, executive director of American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, cited a report by a Fulbright University professor to show that U.S. President Joe Biden will not consider signing another free trade agreement until the middle of his term.

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