Nguyen Minh Phuong from the department told a seminar to promote trade and exports to the Middle East and Africa, held in Ha Noi on Tuesday, that Viet Nam has so far established ties with 53 out of 55 African countries and two-way trade has surged considerably over the past decade.
Viet Nam’s exports to Africa soared from US$610 million in 2006 to $3.2 billion in 2015 and $2.8 billion in 2016.
Last year, Africa’s imports neared $480 billion, which is forecast to increase to about $1.2 trillion by 2020. In the Middle East, the figure was estimated at roughly $807 billion in 2016 and at $1.5 trillion by 2020.
Lying in a strategic geographical location, the Middle East borders Asia, Europe and Africa, with Dubai being the world’s third largest transit market, Phuong said.
South African Ambassador to Viet Nam, Kgomotso Ruth Magau, said Africa imports made-in-Viet Nam goods such as rice, coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, footwear, apparel, household electric appliances, plastics, electronics, handicrafts and aquatic products.
The event affords both sides a chance to facilitate information sharing and technological transfer, she said.
Ly Quoc Thinh from the Department of Asia-Africa Market said the Middle East is home to 15 countries, huge oil reserves and mineral resources. Due to poor weather conditions, the Middle East’s agriculture, fisheries and consumer goods production is underdeveloped so the region must rely on imports.
However, Vietnamese exporters still face obstacles regarding competition with regional rivals, financial risks, public security and order, red tape and poor transport links.
Experts suggested reviewing business strategies and thoroughly learning about regional socio-culture before doing business in the region.