Earning trust must be a new approach in market access for Vietnam businesses to effectively utilize the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), Trade counselor in the UK Nguyen Canh Cuong said in an online conference held on September 23.
“The majority of the UK has a conservative mindset in doing business, so Vietnamese firms have to make sure that they have a certain level reputation and no legal problems before approaching this market,” Cuong added.
|Overview of the conference. Photos: Hai Yen|
He suggested small issues such as the use of a paid email account instead of a free one such as yahoo, Gmail, or a frequently updated English website, could make a huge difference in getting a positive impression from UK companies.
“In addition to product quality, the issue is especially important as e-commerce has become a norm in doing business nowadays,” he said.
“While the UKVFTA puts local firms in a favorable position to penetrate the UK market, it is their readiness and preparedness that is decisive to help them take full advantage of the deal,” Cuong suggested.
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) Le Hoang Tai noted the deal, officially kicked off on May 1, 2021, brings huge opportunities for Vietnam to access the second-largest economy in Europe.
Last year, Vietnam’s trade turnover with the UK stood at $5.64 billion, of which the country exported goods worth $4.95 billion to the UK or a trade surplus of $4.27 billion.
“The UK is currently Vietnam’s third-largest trading partner in Europe, behind Germany and the Netherlands,” said Tai.
|Processing seafood for export at Godaco Company (Tien Giang Province). Photo: Viet Hung|
In the first six months of 2021, the bilateral trade turnover surged by 28.9% year on year to $2.88 billion, a positive result despite the severe Covid-19 impacts, Tai added.
According to Tai, a number of export staples recorded a surged in export revenue, including steel (773%), transport vehicles (91.5%), bamboo and rattan products (105.6%).
“Once the pandemic is contained, the deal could bring even greater impacts for both sides involved,” Tai suggested.
Sharing the view, trade counselor Cuong noted the room remains huge for Vietnamese companies given the fact that the UK imports around $980 billion per year, including products that are among Vietnam’s key export items including clothes, equipment, fruits or farm produce.
“Vietnam stands 22nd among major suppliers to the UK and no doubt the country can climb up the rank,” he said, noting rising exports from Vietnam to the UK show local firms have been active in putting the UKVFTA into good use.