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May 21, 2020 / 16:24

Vietnam turns to India, Nepal to diversify trade markets

Vietnam could take advantage of the Vietnamese communities living in these two countries to boost exports.

India and Nepal would be potential markets for Vietnam as the country is looking to diversify trade markets and new opportunities out of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Le Hoang Tai, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE).

 Dragon fruits, along with catfish, are among Vietnam's key export products to India. 

“India is a large consumer market thanks to a population of 1.4 billion. However, Vietnam’s export turnover to the country remained at a modest level,” Tai said at an online conference discussing trade promotion activities in India and Nepal on May 20.

More importantly, trade relationship between Vietnam and India has a high degree of complementarity, Tai noted, adding the former’s agricultural and food products have high sale potential in India, particularly dragon fruit and catfish, which are fast becoming Indian’s favorite import products.

Other products such as coffee, cashew, rubber, and spices, including star anise and cardamom, could be Vietnam’s next key products to India, Tai added.

Tai said this is VIETRADE’s third conference on the Indian market within a month, showcasing its growing importance for Vietnam’s trade.

According to Tai, both the governments of Vietnam and India recognize the urgency to boost cooperation in expanding production chain in the fields of textile, garment, electronics, and machinery, among others, in which India could be a major source for input materials.

In the first four months of 2020, bilateral trade turnover stood at US$2.84 billion, while Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$321 million with India.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s trade revenue with Nepal has left much to be desired with just around US$30 million per year.

To facilitate export to India and Nepal, Tai suggested Vietnam should take advantage of the Vietnamese communities living in these two countries, with around 500 Vietnamese people living in India and 40 – 50 in Nepal.

Tai expressed strong belief that opportunities for Vietnamese firms in these two markets are huge, given growing support from the two governments, the active participation of business communities and the people.

In 2019, bilateral trade between Vietnam and India stood at US$11.3 billion while investment from India, the world’s fifth largest economy, in Vietnam remained modest at less than US$1 billion. This year, the two countries target a trade turnover of US$15 billion.