The French increasingly prefer rice, coffee, pepper, seafood from Vietnam

VCN - The competitiveness of products such as garments, sports shoes, rice, coffee, pepper and seafood of Vietnam is increasing in the French market and may increase its market share in the future.
Many key products of Vietnam have the opportunity to expand their market share in France
Many key products of Vietnam have the opportunity to expand their market share in France

The above information was provided at the seminar "Accessing the French market after the Covid-19 pandemic" organized by the Investment and Trade Promotion Center of Ho Chi Minh City (ITPC) on June 15.

Trade surplus keeps growing

Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Nguyen Tuan, Deputy Director of ITPC, said that although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many negative impacts on global foreign trade activities in general as well as those of Vietnam and France, cooperation between Vietnam and France still achieved positive developments in 2021.

France is Vietnam's fifth-largest trading partner in Europe, after Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy. For many years, the value of Vietnam's exports to France has always been much larger than the value of imports of goods originating from this market. Vietnam's balance of trade in goods is therefore always in a state of surplus with France. Notably, this trade surplus has continuously increased since 2013.

Specifically, according to data from the General Department of Customs, in 2021 Vietnam's exports to France reached US$3.2 billion. Vietnam's goods exported to France are relatively rich and diverse, including footwear, textiles; houseware; agricultural, forestry and fishery products; precious stones, jewelry; electrical and electronic appliances; mechanical items; bamboo and rattan products.

In the first four months of 2022, export turnover to France recorded an increase of 10.3% over the same period in 2021, reaching US$1.1 billion.

Regarding imports, the import turnover of goods from France to Vietnam in 2021 will reach nearly US$1.6 billion, a slight increase of 5.3% compared to 2020. Imported products mainly include raw materials for medicine and pharmaceuticals, aviation engines, perfumery and hygiene products, chemicals, aluminum sheets, measuring machinery and equipment.

In the first four months of 2022, the volume of goods imported from France into Vietnam recorded a decrease of 16% compared to the same period in 2021, reaching US$450 million.

Many items have opportunities to be exported

At the seminar, experts said that businesses can assess their capacity to develop new markets after their traditional export partners were interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In particular, changes in socio-economy and population have affected the consumption trend of agricultural products and food in France. Vietnamese businesses can find opportunities to export these products such as seafood, vegetables, confectionery and cereal products.

For seafood and food products, French consumers want creative and innovative foods. They like traditional dishes from different countries with specific themes and flavors.

ITPC also forecasts that the import demand for essential consumer goods and household appliances in France will continue to increase. Some of Vietnam's key export products such as garments, sports shoes, rice, coffee, pepper and seafood have begun to be consumed by French consumers, including a large number of Vietnamese and other Asian origin communities. The competitiveness of these product groups is increasing in the French market and in the coming years, so it is possible to increase its market share.

However, some types of seafood are in the sights of specialized agencies in charge of trade remedies, food safety, consumer protection and environmental and animal protection organizations of France and the EU. Therefore, seafood businesses need to strictly follow food safety standards and be careful about payment conditions in export contracts to avoid losses.

Mr. Nguyen Hai Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Business Association in France said: “The French market is very demanding and pays special attention to food safety and hygiene. But once you have entered this market, it will be very easy to bring goods into other markets.”

In addition to affordable consumer goods, the French market also has significant demand for high-end consumer goods for the high-income population and tourists. This group of customers is smaller than low- and middle-income consumers, but their purchasing power is very large, so it can bring significant profits to Vietnamese exporters who are capable of producing consumer products of high quality.

Notably, the French are increasingly moving towards clean and organic agricultural products and food because French consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental and health issues.

Besides, these products are only slightly more expensive than normal products by 3-5%. Therefore, organic certified agricultural and aquatic products will have the opportunity to increase market share thanks to consumption trends as well as food safety regulations in France to encourage these products.

By Nguyễn Hiền/Bui Diep

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