Trade promotion support too slow off the blocks

Trade promotion support too slow off the blocks
Customers choose products at a shop of local garment producer Viet Tien in Ho Chi Minh City
A state-funded marketing campaign aimed at promoting domestic products this year has floundered with enterprises unable to access the promised assistance.


Officials blame the situation on the sluggish pace at which the campaign’s regulations are being set up.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) began preparing the VND51 billion (US$3 million) campaign at the end of last year and it was officially launched this April, according to Hoang Tho Xuan, director of the Domestic Market Policies Department.

The campaign aims at supporting domestic enterprises with 100 percent of the costs of surveying markets and distribution networks, and holding trade promotion conferences.

It also expects to cover 70 percent of the cost of holding agricultural and handicraft product fairs in the southern and northern regions.

Vietnamese enterprises are also offered 70 percent of the costs of holding fairs for made-in-Vietnam goods in rural areas and industrial parks.

But many businesses have complained they haven’t received anything from the trade promotion program so far.

Xuan admitted that the progress was slow as it took the Ministry of Finance nearly four months to finalize the campaign’s regulations including the limits of benefits that each enterprise can access.

He said the ministry will post guidelines on how to complete the application for support on its website. Xuan added the assessment of domestic enterprises’ applications will be carried out in accordance with the Procurement Law.

This implies that enterprises will be selected for receiving the government’s trade promotion support based on feasibility and other criteria of the project submitted.

The assessment process will be expedited in a bid to help finance enterprises not later than next month, the ministry has pledged.

Many enterprises said support from the campaign would make them more willing to trade their products regularly in rural regions.

“The cost of holding trade fairs in the countryside is very high”, said Luong Thi My Tien, senior official from the private plastic producer Chi Thanh. “For example, we had to spend nearly VND15 million (US$876) for just two days in Ben Tre (Mekong Delta province), which is very close to our company. The entire sales at the fair barely covered the cost.”

To promote its brand nationwide Chi Thanh has to continue holding trade fairs even in the countryside, Tien said.

The campaign could help companies’ survey demand in rural areas and enable timely supply to meet it, said Dang Chi Hung, marketing manager of cookware manufacturer Kim Hang.

“Our sales at the trade fair in Ben Tre Province was high,” Hung said, adding the company has established a distribution network in the Mekong Delta but still doesn’t know which products people needed the most.

Phan Van Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Plastic Association, said the government had granted plastic producers funds to hold an international plastic exposition in Vietnam in October.

According to MoIT regulations, the plastic makers will be offered a part of their expenses before the event takes place. But so far the companies have received nothing, Thanh said.


A festival to promote high-quality Vietnamese goods will open at a border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia on August 22-23.

The festival is part of Vietnam’s efforts to enhance exports and duty-free sales to its neighboring country.

Officials from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang and the Ministry of Trade would visit Cambodia on August 17-18 to invite the country’s distributors to take part in the event, provincial People’s Committee chairman Lam Minh Chieu told Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspaper.

The two-day event, held at An Giang’s Tinh Bien Border Gate, would coincide with the opening of the Tinh Bien Commercial Zone, Chieu said.

A wide variety of Vietnamese goods will be displayed on sale at ten duty-free supermarkets.

Cambodia customers can also sign import deals at the event.

Trade promotion events have boosted the popularity of high-quality Vietnamese brands among Cambodian consumers over the past eight years.

The festival will also introduce new rice growing techniques, and other farm produce to Cambodian farmers apart from providing free health check-ups.

A report on the Cambodian retail market will also be released at the event.

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Cambodia hit nearly US$1.7 billion in 2008, an increase of $400 million from a year earlier, official figures show.

Source: Thanh Nien, Tuoi Tre

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