Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Chile - Stepping Stone for Vietnam to Enter Latin American MarketsPosted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Participants exchange business information on the sideline of the Vietnam - Chile Business Forum
On the occasion of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s official visit to Vietnam, the Vietnam - Chile Business Forum entitled “Strengthening relations, looking to the future” was held in Ho Chi Minh City. The event was held by the Ho Chi Minh City Branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI - HCM) in coordination with the Chilean Promotion Bureau (ProChile) and the Federation of Chilean Industry (SOFOFA), aiming to create a new playground for the two countries’ businesses, with a joint objective of raising all-round cooperation and development.
Delivering the opening address to the forum, VCCI - HCM Director Vo Tan Thanh said Chile serves as a bridge for Vietnam to infiltrate South American markets. Vietnam - Chile trade turnover has been averaging an impressive 30 percent a year. Particularly in 2011, Chile’s exports to Vietnam valued US$337 million, while Vietnam earned US$137.5 million from exports to the South American country, bringing total trade turnover to over US$470 million. Vietnam’s major exports to Chile include footwear, seafood, coffee, shirts, jackets, printers, and fibres. Meanwhile, Vietnam chiefly imports copper, timber, seafood, fish oil, scrap metal, wine and grapes from Chile.
Mr Felix De Vicente, Director of the Chilean Promotion Bureau, said: Chile is a modern country and an open economy to global markets. Chile has signed 58 trade agreements with other countries in the world, including 21 FTAs. Vietnam and Chile have signed over 20 cooperation agreements in various fields such as economics, science, technology, technique, mining, agriculture, tourism and culture. Especially, after three years of negotiations, the Vietnam - Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was concluded in late 2011 on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Hawaii (United States). This opened plenty of opportunities for both sides to develop two-way trade. Accordingly, Chile is committed to eliminating 99.62 percent of tariff lines within 10 years. Of that, Chile will remove 83.54 percent of tariff lines when the agreement comes into effect. Five years after the FTA takes effect, 537 tariff lines, accounting for 6.96 percent of tariff lines for Vietnam's exports to Chile, will be scrapped while another 704 tariff lines, accounting for 9.12 percent, will be down to zero within 10 years. If there is no sudden change, the FTA will come into force in June 2012.
Mr Felix De Vicente stressed: “The Free Trade Agreement between Chile and Vietnam marks a milestone in the trade relations. Chile will become a gateway for Vietnamese businesses to enter Latin American markets and, in return, Vietnam will be the gateway for Chile to develop trade with other Asian countries. The FTA signing is also the start of future strong relationships opening up the way for doubling the current trade turnover to US$1 billion in the next three years. Apart from principal wine, FTA will also open up the door for Chilean industrial products, fruits (grape, kiwi, pomegranate and cherry) and IT products to Vietnam.”
At present, Vietnam has no investment projects in Chile, but this forum will introduce investment opportunities in Chile to Vietnamese investors, said Mr Felix De Vicente, adding that Chile allows Vietnamese businesses to use it as a stepping stone to Latin American markets.
Mr Nguyen Duy Khien, Head of the Americas Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, appealed to Vietnamese businesses to make efforts and strengthen exchanges to tap the FTA advantages. The two countries’ exports are not competitive, but supplementary. This is an important advantage for the two countries to gradually balance trade and look to become leading trade partners of each other.