Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said Latin America’s economic growth ranks second globally, only behind Asia. In recent years, the region has become an important trade partner of Vietnam with an annual growth of nearly 20 percent.
Two-way trade hit US$13.49 billion last year, $7.91 billion of which was Vietnam’s exports. Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile have their trade with Vietnam surpassing $1 billion.
Deputy head of the trade ministry’s Department of European – American Markets Vo Hong Anh said trade between Vietnam and Latin America remains modest compared to potential. She pointed out that the region’s total trade topped $2 trillion per year, but Vietnam’s export to the region stood at only about $8 billion.
Vietnam has invested hundreds of millions USD in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Peru, telecommunication in Haiti and Peru, and instant noodle production in Brazil.
According to experts, the great geographical distance between both sides is the largest obstacle to trade due to high transportation cost. Moreover, both sides lack information about each other’s markets and partners while trade protectionism is common in several Latin American countries.
Nguyen Van Thanh, Director of Long Long Chemicals company which is investing in Latin America, said the region boasts a population of more than 650 million people and an average income per capita of $15,000 – 16,000 per year so that demand for consumer goods is huge, including those of Vietnam’s strength such as rice, footwear, apparel, aquaculture, wooden furniture and computers.
On the other hand, Latin America is an important supply source of materials for Vietnam’s for export production.
Chilean Ambassador to Vietnam Jaime Chomali said many Vietnamese products are now popular in the country.
He suggested that Vietnam should boost the export of tra fish, leather, footwear, tea and coffee to Chile.
Chilean firms want to learn more about business opportunities in Vietnam, he said.
Peruvian Ambassador to Vietnam Augusto Morelli Salgado said the potential of bilateral cooperation remains huge because the two economies are supplementary to each other.
He asked for tapping business opportunities to make breakthrough in Vietnam – Latin America economic and trade ties.
Vietnam set the goal of lifting two-way trade to $15-18 billion and attracting $3 billion in investment from Latin America by 2021.