Lack of China info handicaps exporters
By Tran Son - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The fact that local exporters are running into trouble with Chinese partners’ halting trade for certain commodities is the result of a poor grasp of the market information over the past time, said economist Pham Chi Lan.
Lan, former vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said huge damages from the suddenly-suspended trading should have been avoided if local enterprises had been promptly provided with information from authorities.
Enterprises doing business with Chinese partners should be given official information about the neighboring market by relevant Vietnamese State agencies, she stressed.
China does not close its border gates for all Vietnamese commodities, but just a certain number of agro-products and minerals from Vietnam.
Therefore, Lan clarified, the agency in charge of the Chinese market under the Ministry of Industry and Trade needs to urgently work with related agencies in China to find out the cause of the problem. Besides, local enterprises should be given the list of goods on which China is imposing import limits as well as the duration of the suspension.
Getting information from Chinese agencies in a timely manner will help Vietnamese firms be more proactive to deal with the policy changes of the foreign partner.
Another important issue that needs to be addressed is that the local farm produce sector is heavily depending on the Chinese market, Lan pointed out, citing the story of seafood farming as an example.
When the Chinese market has strong demands for certain aquatic products, Chinese traders will rush to hunt for the products and offer high prices in Vietnam. But when local farmers expand their farms to cultivate the products, Chinese importers will turn their back to drag down the prices.
To prevent such a vicious circle, State agencies need to provide businesses and farmers with information in a systematic way whilst constantly warning them of disadvantages and difficulties when doing business with this unstable market, according to Lan.
What State management authorities, farmers and companies need to do now is to predict long-term and short-term demands of the foreign market for local farm produce, she added.
Besides, the fact that Chinese traders are controlling prices of agro-products in Vietnam and requiring local farmers to conform to their own standards also poses alarming issues, Lan stressed. She warned that local products will sooner or later fail to win the confidence of consumers inside and outside the country if the situation remains unchanged.