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Vietnam-Brazil relations: Gateways to regional markets
Minh Nguyen 22:55, 2023/09/25
Vietnam and Brazil would help each other get into large, dynamic regional markets.

Vietnam and Brazil are important to each other in facilitating economic cooperation in the regional markets in which they are represented.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Brazilian businesses in São Paulo on Sept 24 local time. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

Vietnamese Ambassador to Brazil Pham Thi Kim Hoa commented on Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s ongoing official visit to Brazil at the invitation of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

She said Brazil is Vietnam’s gateway to Latin American markets, whereas Brazil’s businesses use Vietnam as their entry point into the ASEAN market and other Asian nations.

Brazil, with a market of more than 200 million people, has potential for Vietnam and is the leading partner in Latin America.

Brazil is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in Latin America, with a two-way trade of US$6.78 billion in 2022. Vietnam’s export staples include seafood, rice, steel, pottery, electronic parts, garments and footwear. Meanwhile, Brazil shipped zinc, plastic, meat, rubber, and fiber to Vietnam.

Hoa believed that Prime Minister Chinh’s visit to the Latin American country would open up a new chapter for the bilateral relations following the meetings with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, representatives of the National Congress, leaders of states, and businesses.

At the meeting with Brazilian businesses on September 24 local time with the attendance of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said Brazil could serve as a gateway for Vietnam to enter the markets of Latin American nations and the South American Common Market. At the same time, Brazil can access the CPTPP’s 800-million-person market and the sizable ASEAN market, which has more than 650 million consumers with the help of Vietnam.

Nguyen Hong Dien said the two countries have great potential as two-way trade worth US$6.8 billion remains modest, equal to less than 1% of Vietnam’s total imports.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the event. 

Speaking at the business forum, Chinh said Vietnamese and Brazilian firms could shorten the distance by aviation and freight to boost trade with Vietnam by exporting more cotton, soybean, and maize while importing more electronic devices, agricultural products, garments, and footwear.

Meanwhile, Brazilian Ambassador to Vietnam Marco Farani said the relations remain potential in terms of trade, agriculture, energy, and education. Brazil, which is rich in natural resources, is among the top 10 economies with advanced agriculture, good for future cooperation.

He highlighted that Brazil, with 90% of its energy from renewable sources, could share its expertise with Vietnam to achieve the Southeast Asian country’s net-zero commitment by 2050.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Lam Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam-Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Association, said Vietnam and Brazil, two world-leading coffee exporters, are considering launching a joint coffee brand to conquer the global market.

Ambassador Farani said both nations are in the Southern Hemisphere, have similar goals, and are leading nations of particular significance to the area. For that reason, the two countries’ leaders would discuss these topics during Chinh’s visit.

 Miguel Gularte, CEO of BRF, speaks at the meeting.  

Regarding trade, as Brazil became chairman of MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) in 2023, the two countries actively launched negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and MERCOSUR, the trade bloc officially comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It has 7 associated states: Suriname, Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, and two observer states of Mexico and New Zealand.

According to Ambassador Farani, President Lula said he would work with leaders of MERCOSUR member states to speed up the negotiations with Vietnam.

The MERCOSUR Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be negotiated to use it as a catalyst to expand Vietnam’s exports to Latin America.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said the related parties will start negotiating the FTA next month.

Education is another field of potential cooperation, with the launch of the first Portuguese-Vietnamese Dictionary, which marks a milestone in the sector. Additionally, the Government of Brazil has maintained the partnership with Hanoi University through a program on training Portuguese and Brazilian culture.

Hanoi University and a Brazilian university are anticipated to sign a memorandum of understanding to support Vietnamese students in Portuguese training courses and Master's and Ph.D. programs. 

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