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Vietnam exporters urged to tap into Cuban market

07:09 | 02/07/2016

Cuba relies largely on imported products and has recently opened its market to foreign investors and traders, and this is a big opportunity for Vietnamese exporters to boost exports to that market.

vietnam exporters urged to tap into cuban market
A customer selects food at a supermarket in HCMC. Cuba has high demand for imported food, fertilizer, carton cardboard, plastics, tires and agricultural machinery and tools.

Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Herminio López Diaz showed the opportunity for Vietnamese firms at a recent business conference in HCMC. The event was organized for Vietnamese enterprises to meet leaders of Cuba-based Foreign Trade Business Group (Gecomex), which consists of 18 companies active in import and export operations.

Last year, Cuba spent US$6.7 billion on imports, but shipments from Vietnam made up only US$214.6 million. Therefore, there is an opportunity in the Latin American market for Vietnamese firms to bank on, said Tran Ngoc Thuan, deputy general director of Thai Binh Investment Trading Corporation (Thai Binh Corp).

Gecomex director Aurelio Mollineda said Cuba has high demand for imported food, pesticide, fertilizer, carton cardboard, plastics, tires and agricultural machinery and tools.

Thuan, who has more than 20 years of experience in trade and investment in Cuba, said the country has high demand for apparel, building materials, chemicals and cosmetics.

He gave positive figures on economic performance in Cuba, saying the country achieved gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4% last year, the highest in seven years, thanks to improved diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Cuba’s GDP is forecast to grow 4-5% in the following years, mainly driven by tourism.

Thuan called for Vietnamese firms to consider forming joint ventures with Cuban companies to implement real estate, restaurant and tourism projects.

Meanwhile, Mollineda advised Vietnamese exporters that seek to export products to Cuba to work with Thai Binh Corp, Gecomex companies and other Cuban companies to survey the market and cut business deals with Cuban counterparts.

In March this year, Cuba allowed the use of the U.S. dollar to settle payments for international deals, but such payments have yet to go smoothly as Cuban banks need more time to process them and improve procedures, Mollineda said.

Source: Saigon Times