Canadian cooperation taking root

The Vietnam trade office in Canada has advanced efforts to conduct a cooperative project with the Ho Chi Minh City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA) on a trial basis with an aim to boosting cooperative opportunities between Canada and Vietnam.

Vietnam’s commercial counselor in Canada Ha Ke Tuan, shed some light on the project.

How is the cooperative project going?

Canada has ample wood material sources. However, the difficulty is the Canadian government’s tight control over the export of round wood which is of high demand by Vietnamese wooden furniture manufacturers. We met some Canadian round wood suppliers who are in a position to export their products to Vietnam.

The Canadian partners shipped two containers of sample wood to Vietnam [including soft and hard wood and preliminary processed timber], thus for HAWA member businesses to take as references. Besides, we will bring some Canadian business groups to Vietnam to negotiate end product purchases with HAWA members. One such group will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City this November.

What will be the next step?

This project is on a trial basis. If successful, we will duplicate the model into other economic sectors such as the food and footwear industries.

All support activities will be handled through business associations but not with any particular businesses. That is because it often takes us much time to learn about actual demands of businesses of both sides before any concrete agreement is reached.

The Vietnam trade office in Canada is reportedly supporting a local seafood exporter to tap Canadian market. Is that the case with your trade office?

I want to withhold the name of that business as we are now in the legal setup stage only.

We support this business because it has succeeded in breaking some foreign markets.

The business has a rich pool of experience in products quality control, from selecting materials to processing, packaging and preservation. Therefore, it can meet strict requirements by foreign partners.

I think that to be succeeded in any particular market, first and foremost Vietnamese companies must take great endeavours to create a good image for their products.

Canada can be used as a transit market from there Vietnamese goods will depart to different regions such as Caribbean and Middle American markets.

We lately assisted Vietnamese firms to export beer products to Honduras.

The Vietnam trade office in Canada will soon host four forums on trade promotion. Can you elaborate on this?

We will join hands with Ho Chi Minh City Union of Business Association to bring some city’s business missions to Canada to source cooperative opportunities. Bigger forums often take place in four key economic areas in Canada - Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and the west.

Businesses need to take into account the fact that Canada is a vast country with dissimilar levels of understanding about Vietnam, so that they must outline suitable market penetration plans to tap their potential.

Han Nguyen (vir.com.vn)