In the past few months, Thailand's goods appeared more and more in domestic market. This situation is so alarming that in last October, Ministry of Industry and Trade held an emergency meeting when the trade deficit of Thailand's goods into Vietnam in the first eight months of 2017 has reached US$3.5 billion and continues to grow.
Not only Thailand's goods but also many other foreign products are gaining market share of Vietnamese goods in the domestic market.
The main cause of this phenomenon is that Vietnam cannot build its brand, making brand identity difficult for domestic and foreign customers.
However, it need to highly appreciate the efforts of Vietnamese businesses as well as foreign investors in the process of bringing Vietnamese goods and brand to become more attractive to consumers.
TheLEADER interviewed Nguyen Thai Dung, Deputy General Manager of Big C Thang Long on this issue.
Can you tell us about the activities that Big C had done in order to support the export products of Vietnam during last time?
Nguyen Thai Dung: Big C has recently supported Vietnamese products to access the world market, especially agricultural products and foodstuff.
We are very excited to export Luc Ngan lychee to Thailand market and distribute this fruit to supermarkets of Central Group.
I think this is a good opportunity to export more agricultural products to Southeast Asia countries as well as to other markets such as Europe, the US or Japan.
What is your opinion about limitations of Vietnamese businesses in promoting exports as well as building their brand in the international market?
Nguyen Thai Dung: After a period of companionship with Vietnamese goods, I realize that many businesses have not yet paid much attention to the registration of intellectual property.
Moreover, businesses have not paid adequate attention to the packaging and design as well as the standards and norms related to this issue.
It is noteworthy that Vietnamese enterprises have not cared about post-harvest preservation while strict markets such as Europe, the US or Japan require high post-harvest quality.
The reason is that Vietnamese producers are mainly small and medium enterprises, farms and farmer households. Therefore, they have not had any conditions as well as have not paid much attention to post-harvest technology.
I expect that manufacturers should pay more attention to these weaknesses in order to improve the brand as well as enhance exports.
As a trader, what suggestions do you have for Vietnamese goods to improve their competitiveness?
Nguyen Thai Dung: In addition to their efforts, Vietnamese enterprises need support from agricultural extension centers and export support centers in providing market and legal information as well as packaging design guidelines.
Moreover, it is necessary to develop post-harvest technologies and assist farmers.
In my opinion, the retail distribution system will continue to boom in 2018 and in the near future with more and more international players.
Therefore, the Vietnamese agencies need to create a legal framework for retailers, especially the need for retail distribution schemes as well as distribute land for investors.
Do you worry that the future of Vietnam products will be overwhelmed by the wave of foreign goods?
Nguyen Thai Dung: In my opinion, each countries, regions and enterprises has specific products and consumers have right to access to these products. For example, Thailand's goods emerged in Vietnamese market in recent years and Vietnam has imported more and more from this country.
I think this is the choice of the consumers. Every investor is a trader and any decision on what type of product to distribute is depended on the consumers.
However, there are many domestic specialties not only Vietnamese people but also many other export markets are interest and I think this is an opportunity and potential for Vietnamese enterprises to export products to the region and the world.