VCN – After a long disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, trade promotion and introduction of Japanese products in Vietnam has resumed to support businesses of the two countries connect and consume products. Hirai Shinji, Chief Representative of the Japan Trade Promotion Organization (JETRO) in HCM City, spoke to Customs News about the operation in the city.
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Vietnam is a potential consumption market of Japanese foods. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the trade promotion activities between the two countries. What are solutions provided by JETRO to support businesses amid the difficult situation?
Vietnamese food companies have few opportunities to access Japanese products due to the public health crisis. Therefore, after Vietnam entered the new normal situation, JETRO established a showroom to introduce about 300 Japanese food products to distributors in the country. This showroom is expected to promote business activities between the two countries’ enterprises.
Japanese suppliers can boost sales by sending samples of their products from Japan to showrooms in Vietnam. In contrast, Vietnamese businesses that have not had the opportunity to participate in direct business forums or trade fairs can come and experience the products at this showroom.
If the enterprise finds a suitable product or supplier, JETRO will quickly arrange a commercial negotiation and send a Japanese-Vietnamese interpreter. JETRO will also monitor and assist both suppliers and buyers in conducting transactions.
What do you think about the competitive advantage between the products introduced in the showroom and products made in Vietnam or those imported from other markets in the Vietnamese market?
We are very confident in the competitive advantage of the products in our showroom. Firstly, these products have given Vietnamese consumers the opportunity to experience the delicious taste of Japanese food. JETRO has provided items with a minimum expiry date from six months to one year, so it is easy to consume. Therefore, the buyers can easily use the products without concern about losing their taste.
Second, based on the information on the market, JETRO prioritizes the list of promising products in the Vietnamese market such as processed foods and beverages, snacks and confectionery, spices and products related to cherry blossoms, fruit juice, etc.
Third, Japan has a large area from North to South and also has four seasons. The harvest of agricultural products depends on the location and the season. Therefore, a wide range of products from various areas, from Hokkaido in the North to Okinawa prefecture in the South, have been exhibited in the showroom. We hope to boost the competitiveness of our products by making the best use of regional characteristics, which differentiate them from products supplied by other countries.
Finally, JETRO will hold a special exhibition in February, focusing on four product areas: seafood, livestock products; alcohol; healthy foods and functional foods. These are all the best-selling products from Japan.
What are your expectations for the consumption of these products in the Vietnamese market amid the complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic?
About 70% of products of 300 products displayed at the showroom have not been supplied via the commercial distribution channel in Vietnam and only 30% have been distributed via this channel. We hope that the products that have not been provided via the commercial distribution channel in Vietnam will be connected with importers, distributors, and be imported to this potential market.
We also hope that Vietnamese consumers, who are unable to visit Japan due to the public health crisis, will be more interested in Japanese products.
By Nguyen Hien/Ngoc Loan