Foreign-invested firms still dominate exporting goods to EU

By Staff reporters   October 10, 2023 | 02:00 am PT
Foreign-invested firms still dominate exporting goods to EU
Workers work at a factory of Thanh Cong Textile and Garment Company in Ho Chi Minh City, in October 2021. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong
Vietnamese enterprises mainly export raw materials and semi-finished products to Europe, while foreign-invested companies export processed goods to the market.

According to the government’s report on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) implementation sent to the National Assembly, Vietnam’s trade surplus with EU countries surged by over 35% to US$31.4 billion in 2022 against 2021.

The two-way trade saw a year-on-year decrease of by 10% to $29 billion in the first half of this year, due to weaker demand in the EU market.

Meanwhile, Vietnam had a trade surplus of $14.3 billion to the EU market, down nearly 11%.

The government said exports to Europe grew positively after the EVFTA took effect, but the rate of taking advantage of incentives from the agreement is still low, at nearly 26%.

Foreign-invested enterprises still account for the majority of high-turnover goods exported to the EU, such as footwear, phones and components, machines and equipment.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese firms mainly export raw materials and semi-finished products to EU countries, or fulfil outsourcing orders from foreign buyers.

"Many local businesses have only participated in some stages of the supply chain; their ability to meet and comply with quality, technical, hygiene and safety requirements of exported goods is still limited," the report said.

Besides this, few Vietnamese businesses have managed to build brands for export to the EU.

The reason why businesses have not taken advantage of the opportunities and incentives provided by the EVFTA, is due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to the government.

Prolonged geopolitical conflicts have disrupted supply chains, reduced aggregate demand and directly affected orders and the ability of Vietnamese businesses to access the EU market.

In addition, Vietnamese enterprises are mainly small and medium-sized, with weak competitiveness, high prices, and low quality compared to international standards.

They have not focused on improving management skills and long-term business strategies. Many businesses also have difficulty accessing capital to expand production and business.

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