By: Forrest Scharf (PAg) Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops
Federal Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay took part in a trade mission to Vietnam in March 2017. Minister MacAulay met with Vietnamese government officials and worked on business-building opportunities for Canadian agriculture. The Minister was reported to have discussed the potential for sales of blueberries and other related products. It is estimated that future demand for all Canadian food products in Vietnam could be over $190 million per annum.
According to Export Development Canada (EDC), Vietnam has quite strong government effectiveness. Government reforms have significantly reduced risk for foreign investors, and focus on supporting private industry is resulting in many policy improvements. A new Enterprise Law, Investment Law and slowly progressing State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Equalization Law are improving many aspects of trade and investment. Vietnam has a rapidly growing middle class and is now Canada’s largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Canadians also maintain a stellar reputation for high-quality products and reliability, and Vietnamese Canadians can often help forge commercial links. EDC expands on these benefits in an article entitled “First 5 Calls Vietnam", which was published in their online magazine called Exportwise.
Foreign Direct Investment in Vietnam is increasing rapidly, and many different trade agreements are on the table that may help further growth and integration of business systems. Global Affairs Canada has indicated that the country has been on a steady path upward for many years and is one of the fastest growing markets in the region. Canadian exports are reported to have expanded 18 per cent per year and have almost doubled over the last four years.
The World Bank Group recently released a report called “Doing Business 2017 — Equal Opportunity for All, Economy Profile, Vietnam”, which highlights various features of the economy at this point in time.
The World Bank Group also creates reports for many other countries.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), which has a Mission in Hanoi, reported that over 50 per cent of business opportunities in Vietnam are related to agriculture. The TCS can help investors prepare market assessments and identify qualified contacts. It also offers expertise such as how to choose target markets; it can even help with various logistics within the country.
Another federal government resource is CanExport, which was launched in 2016 to help small and medium-sized businesses by reimbursing up to 20 per cent of certain trade-related expenses with matching funds on a one-to-one basis. It has already helped more than 300 companies explore new opportunities in 53 markets.
In Saskatchewan, producers interested in exporting to Vietnam are encouraged to apply to the Market Development Program administered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. There are four streams within this program, including:
- In-market initiatives that support efforts to establish, maintain, or expand market presence;
- Efforts to increase the amount and value of incoming buyer missions;
- Trade advocacy to open, protect or expand market access; and
- Export capacity building initiatives.