Cao Thi Phi Van, Deputy Director of the city’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), said the UAE is a focus in the city’s plan to bolster trade with the Middle East and Africa. However, the country currently ranks only the 43rd out of 100 countries and territories landing investment in the city with nearly 10 million USD in 11 projects.
In addition, the city’s exports to the UAE accounted for only one fifth of the total Vietnamese shipments to the nation.
To expand access to this market, the ITPC has arranged for two business delegations led by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong to visit the Middle East country in February and October this year.
According to Vice President of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) - Ho Chi Minh City Tran Ngoc Liem, there are many advantages for the city’s businesses when entering the UAE market, as the country facilitates trade for foreign firms through opening trade promotion events and encourages them to open representative offices.
Ashraf A.Mahate, Chief Economist for Trade and Export Market Development at Dubai Exports, said that the UAE is a market of great potential for Vietnamese companies, citing an example of an UAE firm that bought 20 percent of Vietnamese pepper bean output to sell in Dubai in 2017. Therefore, Vietnamese companies should increase trade promotion and linkage with this market.
In addition, the economies of Vietnam and the UAE are complementary, with Vietnam serving as gateway for UAE firms to approach the ASEAN bloc while the latter plays an important part for Vietnamese companies to expand their market in the Middle East.
He stressed that the UAE, with only 1 percent of land serving agriculture, has to import large volumes of materials and products for domestic production and exports. As the world’s third largest transit hub for international trade (following Hong Kong and Singapore), the country has great demands for goods to re-export to northern Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.
Asharf also mentioned the world’s lowest tariffs and free corporate income taxes as advantages for foreign firms doing business in the Middle East nation.
He said that Dubai Exports stands ready to help Vietnamese partners draw a rational trade promotion plan. Also, the firms should open representative offices or branches in the country to enjoy more favourable tax scheme, and financial support.
In 2009, Vietnam-UAE trade stood at 500 million USD, and the value jumped 12 percent to 5.6 billion USD in 2017. Regarding investment, the UAE is the second largest Middle East investor in Vietnam with 19 projects worth more than 27 million USD.