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VN exports should target West Asia: conference
https://vietnamnews.vn/ - 6/23/2019 9:00:00 AM
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West Asia offers Vietnamese businesses a huge export opportunity, experts told a conference in HCM City yesterday. 
Phạm Hoài Linh of the Asia and Africa Market Agency said the region is rich in oil and gas and affluent and has enormous demand for foodstuff and agriculture products due to its unfavourable climate.
It imports around US$40 billion worth of food, or 80 per cent of its needs, annually, according to Linh.
Its imports and exports match Việt Nam's strengths and need.
Ten out of 15 countries in the region are members of the World Trade Organisation, and six are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council and have 0-5 per cent import taxes.
Việt Nam’s trade with the region last year was worth nearly US$14 billion, with cashew and seafood being among Việt Nam’s biggest exports, and the country also has good political relations with West Asian countries.
But the region is beset by conflicts while geographical distance, lack of information about each other, cultural differences, technical barriers, protectionist policies also pose challenges.
Many importers do not make use of letters of credit, making trade sometimes risky.
Linh urged Vietnamese businesses to take part in trade facilitation events and exhibitions, conduct thorough market research and stay in touch with Vietnamese embassies. 
Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Hằng of the Halal Certification Agency said getting halal certification was important for exporting, and businesses should not contain haram, or forbidden, materials such as pork and alcohol.
Businesses also must separate the production and storage of halal and non-halal products, and the contents on the packaging should be in Arabic and not have haram elements, she said.
West Asia had a combined GDP of nearly US$3.5 trillion in 2018. - VNS
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