By Tran Thu - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – A delegation of 26 members representing 15 African enterprises is in Vietnam for a visit aimed at finding ways to directly export cotton into Vietnam, instead of shipping via a third country, a trade official said.
Ly Quoc Hung, director of Africa, Western and South Asia Markets Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told the Daily last week that the cotton imported from Africa accounted for 20% of the total imported cotton volume at present.
However, as the two countries’ enterprises had little mutual knowledge as well as some problems over the payments, Vietnamese enterprises had long been importing cotton from Africa mainly via a third nation, which caused prices to surge, Hung added.
Therefore, the ministry has coordinated with the International Trade Center, Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, and Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association to hold meetings for enterprises of the two countries in Hanoi and in HCMC to bridge the direct trade.
The meetings are expected to facilitate Vietnamese manufacturers to boost exports of chemical products and fertilizers to Africa for cotton growers while African counterparts can directly ship their cotton to Vietnam.
According to the Department of Western and South Asia Markets, in 2010, Vietnam bought cotton from 22 African enterprises worth a total of US$164 million, including US$44.7 million worth of cotton from Tanzania, US$32.2 million from Ivory Coast, and US$24.1 million from Mali.
Currently, Vietnam is reliant on imported cotton mainly from the U.S., India and Africa. The country last year imported 300,000 tons of cotton while local production was merely at 3,500 tons, according to the Vietnam Cotton and Spinning Association.